Overview of MUXE
Muxes are elected in their childhood by parents, especially in families without girls, is an important role in the society because she is going to take care of their parents in their old age and they help at home
taking care of nephews; they are very loved and accepted, most of muxes enjoy live as women, they have special events like carnival and cultural expressions, in each family there must be one because it’s good luck.
Muxe in village communities may not be disparaged and highly respected, while in larger, more Westernised towns they may face a few discrimination, especially from men, due to attitudes introduced by Catholicism. Muxe generally belong to the poorer classes of society.
Muxe is a Zapotec word (a civilisation who were indigenous to the area before Spain conquered the region) and interestingly enough, in Zapotec there are no feminine or masculine pronouns, no one was he or she, just ‘that person’ or ‘this person’.
Muxes, a term probably derived from the Spanish word “mujer” – meaning woman, are generally indigenous individuals assigned as male at birth who identify as alternative genders and display characteristics from both genders.
Muxes also played a leading role in the aftermath of a massive 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Juchitan in 2017, as many worked to dig out trapped family and friends from the rubble, often using their bare hands.
Muxes are respected contributors to their town, often working as artists and merchants amid the rest of Juchitán’s working class of craft makers, artisans, beauticians and manufacturers.
Muxes may be classified into vestidas (literally “dressed” which means wearing female clothes) or pintadas (literally: “wearing make-up” which means wearing male clothes and make-up).
Muxes’ don’t identify as homosexual, they are a third gender, so it’s seen as acceptable for them to date men, but for a man to date a Muxe is a alternative story.
Muxes (pronounced “moo-she”) have a unique gender identity that mixes gay male and feminine characteristics and is a fewtimes referred to as a “third” gender.
Muxes last made international news for their prominent role in rescue efforts following the 2017 Juchitan earthquake.
A third gender?
“Traditional” muxes keep wearing pants: if they opt for feminine clothing, they do so as part of everyday life, in both public and private spaces.This is the case of Martha Medina in San Blas Atempa, who sells beer in a cantina and always wears their enagua and refajo corto, gold earrings, and plastic clips to draw back their sparse hair, not entirely covering over their bald spot.In this way, they honor tradition.
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History of MUXE
In 2003, Amaranta Gómez Regalado’s candidacy at age 25 in the México Posible party marked a national moment of pride and awareness for muxes.
In 2006, The New York Times carried an article about muxe culture which explains the history and religious significance of this phenomenon, noting:
In 2013, Vice covered a three-day vela dedicated to the Muxe community held in Juchitan every November.