Estrella Velazquez towers over the crowd as she sashays in platform heels through the indigenous town of Juchitan, Mexico, seemingly impervious to the mocking catcalls behind her back. Velazquez is a "muxe," a word long used by the Zapotec people to refer to gay men. Pronounced MOO-shay, the word can today refer to anyone born male who doesn't identify with men's traditional gender roles. Far from ostracizing muxes, Zapotecs have traditionally considered them a "third gender" and reserved them a special place in society: initiating young men and adolescent boys into the world of sex. But muxes, emboldened by the worldwide advance of the LGBT rights movement, are increasingly changing their names, having sex-change operations and taking on women's traditional social roles.
October 6 / The Sun Daily