In southern Mexico, a long-acknowledged ‘third gender’ is not masculine or feminine
‘…women are women and men are men. And muxes, well, they are muxes.’
The indigenous Zapotec communities of southern Mexico have long acknowledged ‘muxes’ as a third gender of people who are assigned as male at birth, but eventually become drawn to traditionally female roles. This can include dressing in feminine attire, taking on ‘women’s work’ and engaging in romantic relationships with men. Anthropologists believe the culture’s acceptance of gender-mixing predates European contact, and has survived the strict gender dichotomy imposed by Spanish Catholic colonisers. The director Ivan Olita’s short documentary Muxes sketches the lives of several muxes living in the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, where, once heavily discriminated against by society at large, they’ve made significant strides towards acceptance and respect over the last decade.