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    Información del día : baile de señores solos
    Diario del Hogar (México, D. F., México). -- Nov. 19, 1901.
    p. [2]
    Newspaper article – Reviews
    "Información del día: Baile de señores solos." Diario del hogar (Mexico City), November 19, 1901.
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In the news: “The event discovered by the police on Saturday night in a house on one of the De la Paz streets is repugnant. At a dance being held there, the volume of the noise was higher than necessary for entertainment. The police went to the house and found that there was not a single woman there, since the twenty or so who appeared to be women turned out to be men dressed in bodices and petticoats, painted with rouge, and even wearing earrings. The women and the men are now in jail.” It is a political and social scandal. More entertainment than statement, less defiance than boredom, but it forever stigmatizes a number in popular Mexican culture: as of the night of November 16, 1901, “forty-one” became a symbol of homosexuality. It was stated that the clandestine dance was attended by forty-two men, many of them dressed as women, all of whom were taken to the police station and from there to Arcos de Belén Prison. At that time, the police station was on third Industria Street, now called Serapio Rendón [Street].


Over the years, the Diario del hogar [Household Daily]—published by Filomeno Mata (1845-1911)—had become a newspaper that fiercely opposed the Porfirio Díaz administration. This was the newspaper to initiate the sensational treatment of the dance of the Forty-One, which implicated the administration. With the events on calle de la Paz, Mexican culture came to terms with a homosexual presence that, as a sort of legend, was reinforced over the course of time. In his book, Símbolos y números (1965), General Francisco L. Urquizo explains the significance of this number in Mexico: "In the army, there is no division, regiment or battalion that bears the number 41. The numbering goes up to 40 and then jumps to 42. There is no payroll that has a line 41. In the naming of houses in a city, there is no house with the number 41; if it happens and cannot be avoided, they use 40 bis. There is no room in a hotel or hospital that has the number 41. Nobody is 41 years old; from 40, everyone jumps right to 42. There is no automobile license plate with the number 41 or policeman or agent who would accept this number." In this context, we must not overlook the portraits and sarcastic caricatures by Antonio Ruiz "El Corcito" (1897-1964), José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) toward the group known as Los Contemporáneos [Contemporaries]. But we also have the opposite perspective in the sharp written criticism of Rodolfo Usigli (1905-1979) in his novel, Ensayo de un crimen [Essay on a Crime], and the outright mockery of Luis Spota (1925-1985) in his novel, Casi el paraíso [Almost Heaven]. In Mexican cinema, there are ups and downs, specifically, El lugar sin límites [Place Without Limits] by Arturo Ripstein (b. 1943) and Doña Herlinda y su hijo [Doña Herlinda and her Son] by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo (b. 1942); and we have the beginnings of homosexual literature with several writers such as José Joaquín Blanco and Luis Zapata.

Alejandro García
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico

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