During our two day stop in Samoa we encountered a new concept!
Traditional dances were performed with great skill and by beautifully dressed girls. I noticed that one was very masculine but thought no more about it until the following day when our tour guide introduced us to the notion of the third sex!
It seemed to have been started a long time ago and is now an everyday part of island life. If parents had had several male children the last one was needed to be female. Our guide said it was necessary to have one girl in the family to look after the parents in their old age...
This has now grown into a whole new way of looking at what in our world would be called transvestites. Not only was there no stigma attached to these people, they are a very respected part of the community.
They dress with style and grace and perform the dances with elegance. No one mocks them or sniggers....theirs is a well defined, necessary role. They do have a name for them but beyond Phillysomething I can't remember it!
Our male guide said that sometimes if they get annoyed the voice drops several octaves and they say something like, "Watch it mate"
They don't marry or have children but are credited with doing many good deeds in their villages.
Two of yesterday's tour guides cam on board to eat with us...they were pleasant men, dressed in exotic dress. Viva la difference!