Thursday, April 8, 2010

MUXES OF JUCHITAN/ What is acceptance?

According to myth, God entrusted San Vicente with a difficult task. On his back he carried a sack full of Muxes, and had to leave one in every town of the Zapotec kingdom.? But when the Saint reached Juchitan he tripped, and all the Muxes he carried in his sack fell out. Since then, this town in the South-East of Mexico has experienced an unexpected - not only for Mexico but for the entire world? sexual liberation. Homosexual men who wish to dress as women freely do so, and live a more or less similar life as their heterosexual fellow citizens. Not only do the Muxes not hide their difference on the streets of Juchitan, they actually project it in every way. Their fellow citizens simply go on their way, not impressed, provoked or angered by the sight of a man in women's clothes, hairdos and make-up. The Muxes claim they belong to the community of the "intrepid", of "those who do not fear death", and celebrate their desire and joy to be women every year in a festivity attended by the whole community. In Juchitan, the dream of tolerance and the acceptance of difference has been a reality for years. Without announcements and declarations, without social movements having to fight long and bloody social and political struggles, without conflict and quarrel...
       So, all that having been said and while I find the acceptance that is afforded to these men to be a breath of fresh air, I am also reminded that there is some confusion afoot. For in this context, does Muxes translate to Trans, even though the term homosexual is being generally used. Muxes = Trans therefore Homosexual = Trans? We tend to forget that in many cultures, homosexuality among men is widely accepted IF they are willing to adopt the opposite gender in appearance, and give up any claim to masculinity. In some middle eastern countries, the only option is to have surgery, if you do not want to be put to death for homosexual activity. We live in a very complicated and confusing world, for sure. Reminds me how lucky I am to be where I am.

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