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One Photographer Showcases Mexico's Gender-Defying Indigenous Community

The culture in the Zapotec communities of southern Mexico celebrates and cherishes a group of individuals considered a third gender, referred to as "Muxes."

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In the communities near the town of Juchitán, men who take on the traditional roles of women, referred to as "Muxes," are not only accepted, but cherished as symbols of good luck.

Muxes are considered a third gender rather than a sexual orientation.

Nicola Ókin Frioli

Although, both gay and transgender individuals are accepted in the community. Los Muxes (pronounced MOO-shays) translates roughly in Zapotec language to mean "homosexual."

According to anthropologist Lynn Stephen, they "may do certain kinds of women’s work such as embroidery or decorating home altars, but others do the male work of making jewelry."

A resident in Juchitan told Nicola:

"Thanks to God, we have one of them in every family. They are like women, they work as a man, but they wash, cook, clean the house and when the other sons will get married and leave, they will stay and look after their old parents."

Look at more of Nicola Ókin Frioli's work, including images from Gay Pride in Mexico.