Transvestism is the practice of dressing and acting [ citation needed ] in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. In some cultures, transvestism is practiced for religious, traditional, or ceremonial reasons. The term is rarely applied to women. Though the term was coined as late as the s, the phenomenon is not new. It was referred to in the Hebrew Bible. Today, the term transvestite is commonly considered outdated and derogatory, with the term cross-dresser used as a more appropriate replacement.
Some people may not identify with any of these labels, and that is OK too. It also is possible to not feel any sexual attraction. This sometimes is described as being asexual. Gender identity is your sense of being male, female, or somewhere in between. This identity may or may not correspond to the sex you were assigned at birth.
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It is difficult for me as a researcher to propose a singular term with which to 'label' this group as a whole, as some of the participants are comfortable using the term 'transgender' to describe themselves, while others prefer 'queen' or ' mahu. In pre-contact Hawai'i, this word did not have the negative connotations it has today. Some of the people I spoke with who are of part-Hawaiian descent and knowledgeable about pre-contact Hawaiian culture have decided to identify themselves as mahu in order to re-establish a link to a Hawaiian past in which they believe people like themselves did not face the discrimination so often found in present-day Hawai'i.