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Transition in Oaxaca?

29 April 2018

Could you see this happening in one of the US states?

Political parties are making history in Oaxaca after nominating 19 transgender women as candidates (or their substitutes) for mayor in 12 municipalities.

The For Mexico in Front coalition, an alliance of the National Action (PAN), the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Citizens’ Movement (MC) parties, registered the largest number of transgender candidates with seven.

Absent from the list is the left-leaning Morena party and its allies in the Together We’ll Make History coalition, the Labor and Social Encounter parties.

“Transgender women will let the voters know that they are a political option,” said electoral institute president Gustavo Meixueiro Nájera.

(Mexico Daily News, 29 April 2018)

Now, before one gets too freaked out … or starts cheering too much… it should be pointed out that Oaxaca has 570 municipalities, so this means these candidates are running in two percent of the races for “mayor”. It might also be noted that “transgender” is a somewhat inaccurate translation several of the candidates are not, by western (or northern) thinking transgender, but are the third gender of the Zapotecs, muxes. Being biologically male, they are recorded as such on their birth certificate, although their role in Zapotec society is more that of the female. It seems to be less “liberalism” than simply finding a work-around for the bureaucrats that Oaxaca makes it relatively simple to change one’s gender on a birth certificate, and muxes often have themselves officially classified as female. In Zapotec society, women have always held the economic and social power, and there are some advantages to a muxe being classified as female.

While it is certainly a good thing that political parties are recognizing that minorities can make for viable candidates it should be noted that election laws in Oaxaca require gender parity for candidates on a party’s slate.

Most of these communities hold elections according to “traditional use and custom”… generally meaning the winner is chosen by consensus after public deliberation, rather than by balloting. It’s very likely that some of these candidates COULD win based on their adherence to one or another of the traditional parties, but then again, Oaxaca… especially rural Oaxaca… has a radical history, and the leftist Morena coalition may sweep these elections. May the best person win.

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