Book Review: Paradise Camp

n Sāmoa, it is often said that “the most beautiful women are men.” (Paul Miles, Transgender in the Pacific – Fa’afafine, fakaleiti and mahu.)

As with all Polynesian countries, cross-dressing has been an important aspect of Sāmoan culture and is inseparable from their history. In 1789, during a stay on the island of Tahiti, then known as Otehetie, marine officer George Mortimer wrote in his journal of an encounter between one of his fellow sailors and a local girl at a night-time dance, whom he was “very much smitten with.” Upon inviting her to return to the ship with him after the performance had ended, the sailor was surprised to learn that “this supposed damsel, when stripped of her theatrical paraphernalia, a smart dapper lad.” (Observations and remarks made during a voyage. London 1791.)

Source: Musee Magazine