The Times has recently run two stories about transgender activities in the (more or less) Latin world, which we spotlight for our readers who are interested in such things:
1. About the Oaxacan muxe, who from boyhood on feel called to dress and socialize as women. To our untutored eyes, this seems like a neat parallel to the native American "two-spirits," people whom anthropologists call by the unintentionally pejorative name of berdaches. (Pejorative, arguably, because it is derived from a Persian word for a gay man, and brings with it some foreign cultural baggage.) Muxes are pretty well accepted socially, and are credited with "special intellectual and artistic gifts." (A Spanish-language article online renctly points out that muxes 'really are a third sex in Zapotec culture," and that they continue to use masculine articles grammatically -- los muxes, not las.
2. And this is our favorite, about some very professional jewel thieves in Paris, who last week stole $100 million in gems from Harry Winston. They were men, but some of them dressed as women because -- according to the gendarmes -- store employees are more likely to open their doors to women. At least that's what they tell themselves when they're done gussying up.