• Juchitan in southern Mexico has been celebrating its Muxe residents with a pageant for the last four decades. (AAP)Source: AAP
A small town in Mexico embraces those who identify as the gender fluid Muxe.
19 Nov 2018 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2018 - 3:27 PM

A small town in southern Mexico saw dancing and partying late into the night Saturday at a pageant to celebrate the area's Muxe, or third gender residents.

"As a Muxe you live with different identities," pageant organiser Viniza Carrillo said.

"You can be a Muxe that works at home, you can be a Muxe activist, you can be a Muxe politician, but each one of them, all the different Muxe identities, has social respect and value.

"This pageant has had an impact on other people that had a more closed culture and didn't appreciate the Muxe identity."

After a powerful earthquake snuffed out last year's festivities, the small town of Juchitan in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca made up for lost time.

Around 50 Muxe, mostly gay men of ethnic Zapotec descent, tried to outdo one another with their fabulous outfits.

The pageant is an annual tradition that started 43 years ago.

Muxes are widely-accepted in the area despite an ingrained Roman Catholic heritage.

Anthropologists say the tradition of blurring genders among Mexico's Indigenous population is centuries old, but has been revived in recent decades due to the gay pride movement.

The area around Juchitan, a laid-back town near the Pacific, also has a history of women playing leading roles in public life.

Anthropologists have found evidence of mixed gender identities across Mesoamerica, from Mayan corn and moon gods that are both male and female and Aztec priests who ritually cross dressed.

The Spanish conquest in the 16th century and the Catholic Church snuffed out much of that tolerance.


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