In the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico, there exists a culture of indigenous origins known as the Istmo Zapotec. The Zapotec civilization has been present in this region since at least the 14th century, thus predating the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Historical records demonstrate that conquistadors witnessed indigenous males who dressed in female-typical attire and had sexual relations with other males. Although such behavior was condemned by the Spanish and repressed throughout the following centuries, more recently, there has been a renaissance in diverse gender expression in this region. In the 21st century, the Istmo Zapotec have become known for their unique and accommodating approaches to gender diversity because of their recognition of a “third” gender category for males who are ...

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