Māhū is a traditional third gender from Native Hawaiian culture. Historically māhū were assigned male at birth (AMAB), but in modern usage māhū can refer to a variety of genders and sexual orientations.
In pre-contact Hawai'i, māhū were notable priests, healers, and teachers, usually of hula dance and chant. Māhū often performed the roles of goddesses in hula dances that took place in temples which were off-limits to women. Māhū were also valued as the keepers of cultural traditions, such as the passing down of genealogies.
Later, these terms were adjusted by the coiner, and split into four new words.
Ha'awahine is a term used for AMAB people that are emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and culturally female. If they have begun dressing femininely and/or physically transitioned (through HRT or surgery) the term Ho'owahine is used instead.
Ha'akane is a term used for AFAB people that are emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and culturally male. If they have begun dressing masculinely and/or physically transitioned (through HRT or surgery) the term Ho'okane is used instead.
The māhū flag was designed by an anonymous submitter to the Tumblr blog ask-pride-color-schemes on January 20, 2016. The colors come from the Kanaka Maoli, which is a flag made to represent Native Hawaiians. The plant is known in Hawaiian as pamakani mahu.
Māhū translates to "in the middle".