There are many cultures around the world that have well-established gender roles other than “male” and “female”.
I’ve reposted some stuff which relates to gender roles in non-western cultures (see this tag), because it interests me to see how gender is understood elsewhere and because I think learning about the rich diversity of the world and seeing it’s wider than the stuff in your own head is usually positive. I’ve tried to focus on stuff written by people about themselves, and limit what goes on this blog to things which as far as I can tell (from where they have been produced/posted) the people concerned are happy to be shared more widely.
I think it’s important to note a couple of things:
In most cases, these gender words (such as fa’afafine, aravani, mahu) are culture-specific and not OK to use by people outside that culture. If you’re not sure, find someone from within that culture to ask.
These identities don’t necessarily fit into the western categories of “non-binary” or “gender non-conforming”. In 21st century western queer culture we think of sexuality and gender identity as distinct things (here is a good non-binary inclusive western conceptualisation of gender and sexuality). In other cultures these can be conceptualised differently.
You’ll notice comments are switched off on most of this blog, basically because I really don’t have the emotional energy to deal with them. But this is one area where I’m particularly worried about getting things wrong, because I don’t really feel I know enough about any of these cultures. So if this is something which affects you and you feel there is an explanation which needs adding, or a post which needs removing, you can contact me via this form, and I’ll get back to you privately and remove/change posts as appropriate.