MEXICO RECOGNISES THE “THIRD SEX”
The LGBTQI activism in Mexico is now carried by a known and recognised community: Muxes. These trannies wearing flamboyant outfits as Frida Kahlo, they are proud of what they are and build on the Indian community to which they belong. Presentation.
First, a bit of etymology MUXE, we can also write “muxhes” would be an appropriation in the Zapotec language, mujer, “the woman” in Spanish. Known primarily by anthropology, on the lookout for the Elsewhere and the Other is considered the traditional life of the Zapotec, the muxes are a strong community in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Today, most live in the main city, Juchitán. Themselves of Indian origin, they shall give Zapotecs beyond their borders. They thus emphasize their tolerance of gender identities. The legend of San Vicente (or St. Vincent), the patron saint of the city, even said that God had given him three bags, one filled with men, the other women and a third of people with a “undefined gender” but only the last bag was torn when he arrived near Juchitán. There has been more people in this “third gender” in the city than anywhere else. This is reminiscent of the stories surrounding the hijras in India (a transgender community as well). We can assume that this is an adaptation of the oldest legends to Catholic cults imported thereafter. Still, the muxes provide their people an unexpected visibility.
This acceptance of a “third gender” is partly because the Zapotecs are a matriarchal society. Adopt codes of femininity will not be considered a degrading thing. Their culture and traditions form an island apart in a very conservative Mexico in gender roles. They thus escape some way to the strong influence of the Catholic Church. Also, have a muxe boy for his parents give them the assurance that he will care for them when they are older. It is therefore considered as a blessing, knowing that muxes marry women and ensure their offspring, even if it is less and less the case. One thing is certain: transsexualism, as sometimes wants us to believe, is neither a recent phenomenon nor the prerogative of Western cultures.
Activism muxes for LGBT rights is well known. They have earned the respect of other Indian wearing this cause beyond their communities throughout the country. For example, Amaranta Gómez Regalado was a candidate for legislator in the national parliament. It is also a leading figure in the fight against AIDS in Mexico. The influence of muxes spread to other cities, including Huatulco, which hosts a contest of Miss Gay Huatulco since 1993. A show of drag queens is also on tour throughout the state of Oaxaca in order to raise funds the fight against AIDS.
Still, their counterparts ‘feminine’, the Nguiu (Zapotec word siginfiant man), -the transgender women or trans men or Kings-drags do not enjoy the same recognition. Is it because they abandon the codes of the traditionally prescribed femininity? Are they not enough “exotic”, especially for Westerners, compared to muxes who wear traditional outfits?