The Hawaiian ʻohana as well as our lāhui had roles for each person. Whether kane, wahine, or māhū, each person had a kuleana in the Hawaiian ʻohana. Māhū have long held an important traditional role as caretakers–of other ʻohana members, of cultural and historical knowledge, and as respected contributors to the lāhui. However, since Western-Colonial contact, we’ve seen a decrease in health outcomes for our māhū (aka LGBTQ) community.
Papa Ola Lōkahi includes our māhū ʻohana in our commitment to the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians and all our families. We are identifying the health disparities and through programs, public policy and partnerships, we are developing strategies to address:
- Increased risk for depression, anxiety and mental health challenges.
- Increased risk for substance use/misuse.
- Increased societal stigma around care (e.g. HIV, MPOX, etc.)
- Limited, and sometimes prohibited access to gender-affirming care.
In 2023 alone, roughly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced within state legislatures across the United States, including 6 bills introduced in Hawaiʻi that would limit access to inclusive curriculum to criminalizing vital gender-affirming care that our trans and māhū ʻohana members need.
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