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    ¡Cuarenta y un maricones! / PAZ
    El Popular : Diario independiente de la mañana (México, D. F., México). -- Nov. 25, 1901.
    p. 1
    Newspaper article – Poema
    Paz. "¡Cuarenta y un maricones!" El Popular: Diario independiente de la mañana (Mexico City), September 25, 1901.
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After a scandalous raid in Mexico City in which forty-two homosexual men were detained, known as the Ball of the Forty-One, the poem describes the possible foundation of a mutual aid society in which a dance was mentioned: “El traje debía de ser, / para unos, de mujer / para otros de varón, / y tener cada reunión / bailando hasta amanecer” [The clothing had to be / a woman’s dress for some / a man’s suit for others / and, at every meeting, / dance until the crack of dawn.] Various sectors of the society began to relate to dancing.


The theatrical milieu began to be the object of homophobic attacks. In zarzuelas and reviews, it was common for actors and actresses to dress in clothing of the opposite sex. However, as of the Dance of the Forty-One in 1901, El Popular stated that one of the reasons immorality was taking hold was the variety shows presented in theaters at that time. In 1902, when the zarzuela Enseñanza libre [A Free Education] by Perrín and Palacios celebrated its 100th performance, the actors appeared in cross-gender roles. This role-swapping 100th performance was in keeping with a tradition that had been going on for fifty years on Mexico City stages. Certain journalists described the show as "repugnant," insulting to the actors, to the company and to the public. They also said that the cynicism of the Moriones sisters (the producers of this variety show) had reached the limit, since they were also rehearsing a zarzuela written by Mexicans with the precise title, Los cuarenta y uno [The Forty-One]. The producers’s agent hastened to discredit the journalists, reminding them that the 100th performance of comedies and zarzuelas had always been done that way, and the fact was that the public had never been offended and had never complained! But the idea of any possible presentation of a musical production with the title, Los cuarenta y uno, was categorically rejected. And to keep their theater from being closed and themselves from being exiled to the state of Yucatán, the Moriones never again presented a variety show with "papeles cambiados" [role swapping]. 

Through portraits and caricatures, artists such as Diego Rivera (1886-1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) and Antonio Ruiz (1897-1964) ridiculed and attacked the feminization of a certain sector in Mexican culture.

Alejandro García
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Fondo Reservado del Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional