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In Oaxaca, Mixed Genders and ‘Muxes’

Alex Hernández was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. By age 4, he had immigrated to the United States with his family. By age 12, he had asked his mother if he could sew. She refused, he recalls, saying sewing was for girls.

So he chose a different creative route. By high school, Hernández was painting; in college, embroidering.

A few years later, Hernández, now a textile and embroidery artist, returned to Oaxaca for a three-day festival called Vela de Las Intrepidas — or Vigil of the Intrepids. Created in the 1970s, the festival is a celebration of ambiguity and mixed gender identities, and for Hernández, it was like a rite of passage.

Read More and See More Photos at NPR

See more photos from Neil Rivas’ exhibit “Searching for Queertopia,” on display at San Francisco, CA’s Galeria de la Raza through June 30.