Sunday, December 2, 2018

Muxe: A Poem that Never Dies

We live in an increasing changing world, for better and for worse. What used to be taboo is in some ways becoming more visible in today’s world. And yet we often seem to take one step forward and two steps back in our evolutionary process. I would like to focus on the issue of transgender in this blog entry. My visit to Juchitán to partake in la Vela de las Auténticas Intrépidas Buscadoras de Peligro was a unique cultural event that I was privileged to experience. The three-day celebration was not held last year as the city was in mourning over the devastating earthquake that shook Juchitán in September 2017. The event is now in its forty-third year and is dedicated to St. Vincent Ferrar, the patron saint of Juchitán.
Since I know very little about the transgender world, I do not want to try to give information that I do not know first hand. It is best for me to share the photographs that I took while in Juchitán and let someone knowledgeable inform us about the world of the muxes.
I am very fortunate to have a friend, Elvis Guerra, a muxe from Juchitán, who is a very talented poet. Elvis, who writes in both Zapotec and Spanish, was the winner of the Premio CaSa 2015 for poetry. My photos are a very shallow glimpse into the world of the muxes, a three day look into a very complex world with many layers. Elvis' words go to the very core of it. I sincerely want to thank Elvis for giving his permission to use his poem (originally written in Zapotec and Spanish), Erica Nava for translating it into English, and to all the wonderful people of Juchitán de Zaragoza for their willingness to share their incredibly rich culture so openly with us.

A Muxe is…
Muxe is a leap into the mouth of the abyss.

Muxe is an ever-dazzling smile.
Muxe is a native Zapoteco that dreams he is a princess.
Muxe is a body of a man with the voice of a woman.
Muxe is a joke in school, a burst of laughter in the street, a clown for all.
Muxe is a universe populated by men.
Muxe is being naked in a stare-filled street.
Muxe is a “yes” to everything and to everyone.
Muxe is to challenge the other, to those that hate and have never learned to love.
Muxe is a skirt imbued with hand-embroidered flowers.
Muxe is the one that drinks the wine of brave men.
Muxe is a home, always open.
Muxe is the one that never says “no”.
Muxe is to look in the eyes of those who disregard you
Muxe is to dream that you marry a man.
Muxe is to walk to the altar on the arm of the father who never knew how to love you.
Muxe is the one who was beaten up by his brothers.

Muxe is the boy who played with a doll made of sticks.
Muxe is the one arriving at a party all dressed up
Muxe is carrying a flower in your mouth.
Muxe is a fire on the mountain.
Muxe is waking up with an erection in a mini-skirt.
Muxe is the boy who wants to wear a huipil to his drawing class.
Muxe is the cantina and its dust-filled womb.
Muxe is De Profundis by Oscar Wilde.
Muxe is a student kicked out of his home.
Muxe is an ever-eternal instant.
Muxe is a 65cm waist and a 19 cm penis.
Muxe is the pride of the family. Wait no… that´s false.
Muxe is freedom that is battered.

Muxe is a high-heel that never breaks.
Muxe is the eye that cries for many men.
Muxe is an arm, a leg and many hearts.
Muxe is the movie that you´ll watch your whole life and never finish.
Muxe are those that were born hurt.
Muxe is the corn that never sows its seeds.
Muxe is the flower that falls apart to perfume your bed.
Muxe is a very expense velvet huipil.
Muxe is an etching by Goya.
Muxe is the accent that gives meaning to words.
Muxe is the legitimate mother of freedom.
Muxe is a tortilla that you eat, but don´t recognize .
Muxe is the food you push aside in public, but enjoy in private.
Muxe is the bitch that bites your ear at 11 o´clock at night.
Muxe is a never-ending dance.
Muxe is a poem that will never die.



For anyone interested in excellent resources on issues of gender and bodies to share with children, check out the important work being done by Maya Christina  Gonzalez. .