A month ago, my wife, Selma Fernández Richter, and I created and taught a new photographic workshop in Juchitan, Mexico. Selma is a photographer and has produced photography workshops around the globe for over 10 years. We have wanted to work with the Muxe community in Mexico for some time, and this workshop was our inaugural trip. The Zapotec word "Muxe" derives from "mujer", the Spanish word for woman, and specifically refers to males who from a young age have identified as female. Considered a third gender, Muxes have a long history in the region dating back to pre-Colombian times.
During the workshop, we aimed to facilitate a genuine connection and meaningful exchange between the students and our generous hosts who invited us into their lives. We spent days and nights getting to know a small group of Muxes, their friends and families in their homes, at work, with their partners, during processions, and at the wild celebrations each night. As we photographed, we learned about their reality and they about ours. Perhaps at it's best, that is what photography offers us: an opportunity to connect in an authentic way, and a chance to open our hearts and minds.