Nelson Morales and The Muxes of Mexico

Artist Nelson Morales

Words Tom Czibolya

THE MUXES OF OAXACA is a longterm project by Mexican photographer Nelson Morales and it’s about the Muxe community of Oaxaca. Muxes are considered the third gender in Mexico and are quite accepted in society, however, it is not widely accepted that they have lovers publicly. In this series the photographer enters the deepest desires and fantasies in the company of their friends and lovers. We had some questions to the artist. Wanna see the whole series? For sure.

How are you? And how do you spend the last months?

I’m very well, thank you! Currently I’m based in Mexico City, however, for a few months I returned to live in my town in Oaxaca with my family, I moved away from the big city to be more calm. I hope to return to the city soon to keep going with my projects.

What did you do before sitting down for the interview?

I had breakfast and then cleaned a bit in the house. Life in town is very quiet currently.

You have been working on a project about the muxe community for years. What attracted you to this community? And how did you become part of that scene?

I was born and raised in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the region where the Muxes are from. However, I rejected the idea of becoming one of them since I was afraid to dress as a woman and my family also disagreed. One of my Muxe friends invited me to take pictures of a Muxe beauty contest, at first I did not want to for fear of the unknown, but I agreed to do it and I really liked the result. Later, I decided to get to know them more and befriend them, so I decided to continue photographing them and at the same time I began to study contemporary photography. It has been a long process of exploration and self-knowledge until on impulse I decided to become part of the scene. The result was surprising and I continue to explore my identity and relationship with the Muxes of which I am also part of the community.

Container Love’s mission is to highlight beauty in diversity, change views on love and the body, and advocate for greater tolerance. Do your images have a message that fits into the Container Love universe?

My images are an explosion of a diverse world, full of colors, energy, respect, inclusion, freedom and also rebellion. Despite the hatred and intolerance that exists in many parts of the world, the Muxe community shows a clear example of freedom of expression. In the same way, my work does not fit in certain galleries or magazines, but I must be very strong and defend my project.

What are the next projects you are currently working on?

I have several projects, all related to sexual diversity, the body and identity, obviously I continue to portray the Muxe community from various perspectives. Last year I published the photobook FANTASTIC WOMAN about an American Marin who made his gender transition at almost seventy years of age.

Famous last words?

Disobedience, passion and surrender.

Thank you very much for your thoughts.