Posts Tagged ‘transgender’

Returning from an errand in the Jalatlaco neighborhood, I was stopped in my tracks by this massive mural on Calzada de la República. It is titled, “No Discriminación e Inclusión” (No Discrimination and Inclusion), and was unveiled in October 2020 as part of the Movimiento Vecinal — a program created by the Sistema Estatal de Seguridad Pública de Oaxaca (State Public Security System of Oaxaca) to involve youth, through cultural, athletic, community, and educational activities, in the recovery, appropriation and rescue of public spaces. Importantly, a collaboration has also been established with the civil association Conquistando Corazones to eradicate violence towards the community of sexual diversity.

(Unfortunately, trees and other foliage prevented a clear photo of the entire mural and so I offer you the full mural in six parts — moving from left to right facing the mural.)

According to José Manuel Vera, Executive Secretary of Sistema Estatal de Seguridad Pública de Oaxaca, “We work to achieve equality and dignity for people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and we continue to create spaces for youth that represent freedom of action and thought. In a just and egalitarian society, everyone has the right to their individuality, to be who they are, to do so in peace, without fear of rejection, hatred or violence, but rather enriched by diversity” (my translation).

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Saturday night, a spur of the moment invite from my indomitable 86-year-old neighbor had us hailing a taxi at 10:30 PM, en route to attend the 13th Gran Vela and coronation of the queen of Vinnii Gaxhee (Zapotec for “different people” — gente diferente, en español).  Vinnii Gaxhee was born, according to their website, in “July 2000, when a group of people in Oaxaca, whose sexual preferences were different, met and created a group whose members were not afraid to stand up to society and publicly accept their sexual preference or orientation.”  (my loose translation)

The venue, in an area of the city neither of us was familiar with, proved to be unknown to the taxi driver, as well.  After a few blocks, with much conversation back and forth re the location, and a call to his dispatcher, he asked (hopefully) if we would like to find another driver.  Yes, we said and crawled out, hailed another taxi, and successfully headed out to Colonia Primavera Santa Lucía del Camino.

The “suggested” per person entry donation was the purchase of a case of beer.  A case of beer, we asked?  Even though they were small bottles, there was no way the two of us could drink a case, let alone two cases!  Well, the issue was settled when we schlepped our cases over to our assigned (not sure how or why) seating area, where we were relieved of our boxes and where they joined stacks of others.  However, chilled cervesas and food were offered without charge for the duration of the evening — and into the early morning!   Besides, the floor show was worth the price of admission; a banda playing traditional music of the Istmo and hot Latin rhythms had people up and dancing, a runway-style procession of contestants (at least I think that is who they were), a Rockettes-like production number, and the crowning of the queen.  What more could anyone want for about $15 (US)?

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On a serious note…  A little background on the name of the organization, Vinnii Gaxhee.  Zapotec culture has historically acknowledged a “third” sex.  These are men who from childhood, “consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between the two genders,” according to a 2008 New York Times article.  This has been traced back to pre-Columbian times, but was mostly wiped out by the Spanish colonists, except in the region around Juchitán de Zaragoza, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca.

As Vinnii Gaxhee, explains on its website, “it is as a tribute to all those in the region of the Isthmus, who fought for a place in society, regardless of sexual preference, making this region a place where homosexuality worldwide is accepted without any remark, first by the family after by society.” (my loose translation)

(ps)  I still don’t understand how anyone can walk in those high, high heels!

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