Where Mexico gets narrow in the south just a couple of hundred miles from the Guatemalan border sits Juchitán. A six hour bus ride across the high sierra from the city of Oaxaca, for most of the year it’s a place not much visited by tourists: it’s hot and it’s busy and the mosquitos here are relentless.
But what puts this place on the map nationally and internationally are the ‘muxes’, Mexico’s ‘third gender’.
Specific to the matriarchal society of Juchitán, they are boys who grow up to identify as women (not as women in general but as traditional women within the family, and within the deeply rooted indigenous culture here); who might or might not dress in women’s clothing; and who have sex with men. It’s complicated and fluid. And so deeply entrenched in the culture that it’s claimed the existence of muxes here goes back thousands of years into the beginnings of the Zapotec culture.