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Cuarenta y uno ( y uno más)

19 November 2017

I either knew, or forgot,that yesterday was the anniversary of the “Baile de los cuarenta y uno”… the 41 Dance of 18 November 1901.  This was the raid on a drag ball (about half the men were in women’s clothing), that ended with the men … who were mostly from prominent Mexican City families… were arrested and “sold” as convict laborers for Oaxacan tobacco farms or into labor battalions for the army.

41 is a odd number, and if it was a formal ball (drag or otherwise), someone was missing a dance partner.  The missing person was said to have been Ignacio de la Torre… just coincidentally Porfirio Diaz’ son-in-law, and uncle by marriage to the then Mexico City police chief, Felix Diaz.  While Ignacio’s sexual preferences were well known, he kept a relatively low profile the rest of his life, though he showed a particular interest in a handsome, well-dressed horse trainer he later hired.  A fellow named Emiliano Zapata.  No evidence that Zapata had much in common with de la Torre beyond an interest in horses, but still, Zapata was thin, neat, and a snappy dresser.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Cuarenta y uno, more than a century later, is still Mexico City slang for a gay man.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 November 2017 11:10 pm

    The 41st man , Porfirio’s son in law, disappeared from the list of prisoners being taken to the Train to be sent off for a year of hard labor. At the time everyone was wondering who the forty first was. A murderer was brought along by the Police to the train station and he started yelling “I’m not the 41, I’m not the no. 41” So he preferred to be known as a killer rather than be stigmatized as a homosexual. Even now after more than a hundred years when a Mexican turns 41 he keeps quiet about it.
    There was also a stage play about this event,
    This just strengthens my theory that the whole damn world suffers from insanity.
    Its like saying a baby girl can only wear pink and a boy can only wear blue…WHY? Do the Parents think it will cause a hormone change or what?

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