Photography by Luca Gaetano Pira
Story edited by Cristiano Capuano
The muxe phenomenon is a identity aspect in Zapotec culture, which confers a great social value to non-binarism gender. It is commonly believed that it is characterized by an almost total absence of homophobia, transphobia, and hostility towards fluid sexual identities
Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. This lush southern Mexico region is the cradle of the Zapotecs, a pre-Columbian indigenous civilization established in these areas of Mesoamerica for over 2500 years.
the Zapotec cultural traits in matters of sexual identity are characterized by the existence of a so-called "third gender".
The muxe are members of the Zapotec society born biologically male, but who choose, in early age, to be recognized and raised as females. they acquire social habits generally considered feminine, while they do not necessarily undergo hormonal treatments and surgical operations.
the origins of the phenomenon are precolonial and are found in the fact that priests and ministers of worship of many pre-Columbian social contexts dressed both male and female.
Although derived from a pre-Columbian context, the question of muxe is not commonly part of the framework of primordial categories of tribalism or pre-modernity. Their integration into the social and cultural context of contemporary Mexico is, in fact, widely recognized, and there are different professions carried out by members of a category that represents about 10% of Zapotec population. Among these, the practice of embroidery is widely spread among the muxe, through which are made bright and colorful clothes that are flaunted during the holidays or beauty competitions specially dedicated.
Luca Gaetano Pira - www.luca-gaetanopira.com
Camera: Fujifilm x-e1