Queer paradise

DevelopmentĀ and recognition in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

Authored by: Corinne L. Mason

Routledge Handbook of Queer Development Studies

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  January  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138693753
eBook ISBN: 9781315529530
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter engages with a number of questions brought to the fore by recent scholarship on sexual citizenship and an international politics of LGBT recognition through the case of the muxe of Juchitán, a group of indigenous people in Oaxaca, Mexico, that have garnered international attention in recent years as a third gender that experiences an unprecedented level of tolerance in their local communities. This chapter considers an ambivalent dimension of muxe visibility wherein muxe identity and advocacy politics are portrayed as both an ultra-progressive vanguard of LGBT equality, and simultaneously in a nostalgic, primitivist light as an ancient, pre-colonial form of gender identification. Through a series of ethnographic interviews carried out in Oaxaca in 2014 and an analysis of recent documentary and journalistic pieces written about muxe people, this chapter explores a unique discourse and aesthetics of sexual citizenship wherein representations of muxe people emerge as the products of certain notions of progress, liberal universalism, and civilization that are paradoxically expressed in a register of ancient tradition, folkloric authenticity, and nostalgia for the pre-modern.

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