Things That Matter

The Dance Of The 41 Is A Bit Of Mexican Queer History That Many Don’t Know But It’s Impact Lingers To This Day

The Dance of the 41 was a scandal of epic proportions in Mexico in 1901. According to reports, 41, though likely 42, men gathered at night and held a ball where half of the men dressed as women and the group danced and partied into the night. To this day, 41 has a negative connotation in Mexico, often used as a homophobic slur because of the night where the men at the dance were caught, arrested, and, in some cases, disappeared.

The use of 41 as a homophobic slur in Mexico has a deep and storied history.

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On Nov. 17, 1901, 42 men gathered for a regularly held night of dancing and partying that was supposed to be a secret. The men would gather at different locations and half would dress as women. While the organizers of the dance remains a mystery, it is widely believed that the participants of the dance were some of the highest men in society.

On this night, the men had gathered at a private house on Calle de la Paz and began the party. It wasn’t long until Mexican police raided what was being called a “transvestite ball” and began harassing and arresting the men at the party. It was because of the men’s high standing in society that the names of the men were not released to the public.

While the men’s identities were not released to the public, Mexican media at the time went wild reporting on the incident that shook Mexican society.

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The Mexican government at the time was seen as one that catered to the elites at the expense of the poor. According to experts of the incident, Mexico was in the throws of a budding relationship with European forces.

“It was a government that was focused on the elite,” says Robert McKee Irwin, editor of “The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 1901” explains, according to History. “[It had] invested a lot in international business relations and symbolic ties with Europe, often at the expense of Mexico’s poor.”

Some historians claim that the dance was so scandalous at the time that is was used to justify further marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community throughout Mexico.

One man who is believed to have escaped any kind of punishment in the dance was Ignacio de la Torre y Mier.

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The incident, dubbed the Dance of the 41, is believed to have included 42 men. However, one of the men was closely tied to then-Mexican President Porfirio Díaz.

Ignacio de la Torre y Mier was the son-in-law of President Díaz. It was this relationship to the president that presumably allowed the young man to escape the incident to return to his home. For the rest of the revelers, humiliation, jail, and forced work followed.

According to reports, the 41 men were jailed for participating in the dance. Of those, the most well-to-do men where able to pay their way out and return to their lives in society. However, for many, being jailed was just the beginning of the ordeal.

Some accounts claim the men were forced to wear dresses and clean the streets before being jailed. For the ones who were not able to leave jail, they were sent to the Yucatan and used as forced labor to help the military. They were subjected to digging ditches and cleaning the latrines. All accounts agree on one thing: the fate of those sent to the Yucatan are largely unknown.

Another case similar to the Dance of the 41 happened on Dec. 4, 1901. Referred to as Santa Maria, it was a gathering of lesbians that was disbanded by police. While the stories are the same, the Santa Maria incident received less press coverage.

READ: Mexico City Has A Long And Complicated History With The Queer Community, So How Is It Now Considered A Top LGBTQ Destination

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards


The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

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On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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