Intimate Portraits of Mexico’s Third-Gender Muxes

Estrella has long, wavy, jet-back hair. She tries to tame it with a thick-toothed comb in the backyard of her house, among the chickens, hammocks and looms. All around her, relatives come and go.

It is November 2015, and Estrella is preparing for the annual festival called La Vela de las Auténticas Intrépidas Buscadoras del Peligro, or the Festival of the Authentic and Intrepid Danger-Seekers. There, alongside a community of fellow muxes — people who are born male but who adopt roles and identities associated with women — she will vie to be crowned the queen of the ceremony.

Estrella and her family live near the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza,

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