06/01/2015 09:17 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2015

Meet The Muxes: How A Remote Town In Southern Mexico Reinvented Sex And Gender


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‘Queer Paradise’

JUCHITÁN DE ZARAGOZA, Oaxaca - Marluu Ferretti climbs into a chair at the local beauty salon to get her hair done for the annual festivity known as Vela de la Santa Cruz de Los Pescadores, one of roughly 25 fiestas held in Spring to honor the Patron Saint of Juchitán Vicente Ferrer. As the hairdresser transforms Marluu's bushy curls into one big iconic Mexican braid, she says she’s looking forward to dancing and drinking at the party. She watches her transformation carefully in the mirror as Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon plays on her cellphone.

Marluu is a "muxe," a term derived from the ancient Zapotec dialect to describe a community of gay men who date heterosexual men while dressing as women, sometimes assuming traditional female roles within the family and society.

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