In the southern region, Istmo de Tehuantepec, of Oaxaca, Mexico, you will find the district of Juchitán, home to varying indigenous communities as well as varying gender identities.
Specifically, the local Zapotec community includes those known as Muxes (pronounced moo-shays), individuals who are born biologically male and dress as women, but don’t consider themselves transgender. Muxes identify as a “third gender,” meaning not as women or men.
In a short film, Define Gender: Muxes, by LA-based director, Ivan Olita, individuals who identify as Muxes in the area speak about what it’s like to live in their community.
“Here, people accept you and let you do what you want to do,” said one Muxe in the film.
In the Juchitán community, Muxe's generally aren't victims to the discrimination that LGBTQ folks face in the U.S. and other parts of the world. According to Munchies, within the community, many have jobs that local women typically take on, but other's also engage with work that is associated with men.
"In the Zapotec vocabulary Muxes means both feminine and fear, I think we all have fear, and I like this definition, because I think that being a Muxe allows you to defeat that fear so that you can be your own self," said a Muxe in the film.
Olita, traveled to Juchitán to make the film and meet the people of this community. “The muxes are absolutely part of the city’s cultural landscape and are cherished by the people of the village,” said Olita to Nowness.
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