Muxe (also spelled muxhe) is a person assigned male at birth in Zapotec cultures of Oaxaca (southern Mexico), who dresses and behaves in ways otherwise associated with women; they may be seen as a third gender, and are often considered to be such. They often dress in a feminine manner, and are not considered to be men or women.
An alternate name for this amongst their culture is Biza'ah.
History and Culture
Muxe have been reported to face less discrimination than homosexual individuals, effeminate males, and transgender women do in Mexico. During one study, it was estimated that 6% of AMAB in an Isthmus Zapotec community in the early 1970s were muxe. Some muxe marry women and have children while others choose men as sexual and/or romantic partners. Anthropologist Lynn Stephen stated that muxe "may do certain kinds of female’s work such as embroidery or decorating home altars, but others do the male's work of making jewelry".
Muxe may be vestidas ("dressed", i.e. wearing female clothes) or pintadas ("painted", i.e. wearing male clothes and make-up). It has been disccovered that while the three-gender system predates Spanish colonization, the phenomenon of muxe dressing in feminine mannerisms is fairly recent, seeming to have begun in the 1950s and gaining popularity recently, until nearly all of the younger generation of muxe today are vestidas.
Within contemporary Zapotec culture, their social status seems to vary depending on location. Muxe in village communities may be highly respected and face little discrimination, while in the larger Westernised towns they face some discrimination, especially from cisgender men, due to attitudes introduced by Catholicism. Muxe generally belong to the poorer classes of society. Despite all of this, muxe have traditionally been considered good luck, and many have white-collar jobs or are involved in politics.
Anthropologist Beverly Chiñas stated in 1995 that in the Zapotec culture, "the idea of choosing gender or of sexual orientation is as ludicrous as suggesting that one can choose one's skin color." Most people traditionally view their gender as something God has given them (whether man, woman, or muxe), and few muxe desire genital surgery. They generally do not suffer from gender dysphoria, due to less pressure than in western locations (such as America.)
Lynn Stephen wrote that "Muxe men are not referred to as "homosexuals" but constitute a separate category based on gender attributes. People perceive them as having the physical bodies of men but different aesthetic, work, and social skills from most men. They may have some attributes of women or combine those of men and women." If they do choose men as sexual partners or romantic partners, neither men are necessarily considered homosexual/homoromantic.
The flag was coined by an anomynous, and was first posted on pride-color-schemes on January 29th, 2017. The flag is based off of traditional Mexican dresses. The black background represents the deep jungles of Mexico, the flowers were made to look like what you would see on many traditional dresses, and the colors of the flowers are meant to represent the same colors as those on the Mexican flag.
The biza'ah flag appears to have been coined by Fandom user Disneyfan1413 on August 8th, 2020. The flag is a recolour of the non-binary flag, yellow and purple swapped for the green and gold of the Brazilian flag.
The word 'muxe' is thought to derive from the Spanish word for "woman", 'mujer'. In the 16th-century, the letter x had a sound similar to "sh".