The Tiruray (Teduray) culture was studied at length in the 1960s by anthropologist Stuart A. Schlegel. Schlegel spent two years as a participant/observer among a group who lived in and was sustained by the rainforest. He was profoundly moved by the egalitarian society he witnessed, and went on to write several books and papers on the subject, including "Wisdom of the Rainforest: The Spiritual Journey of an Anthropologist."
The Teduray or Tiruray people believe in various spirits and deities. The most prominent deities are:
- Minaden – The goddess who creates of the world, had a brother named Tulus, also called Meketefu and Sualla.
- Tulus – The chief of all good spirits who bestow gifts and favors upon human beings. He goes around with a retinue of messengers called telaki. Tulus is said to have rectified some errors in the first creation of the world and of human beings.
The Tiruray language is genderless. For example, they use the same word for "he", "she", and "it". The culture is gendered, with men and women wearing different clothing and doing different kinds of work, but gender is determined by the role a person fills in society, rather than the person's biological sex. A Teduray woman is a person who dresses like a woman, does work typical for women, thinks of herself as a woman, and is treated by others as a woman, and a Teduray man is a person who likewise behaves as the other men do, without regard to the person's anatomy. The term for transwoman is mentefuwaley libun ("one who became a woman"), and the term for transman is mentefuwaley lagey ("one who became a man"). Trans people do not marry; marriage is "an economic unit for raising children", which was irrelevant for people who were not expected to raise children.
- Sasot, Sass Rogando (2015-05-30). "Learning from the Teduray people: Valuing self-determination". Outrage Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
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