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Homosexuality in ancient Mexico

Based on this article:

Translated from samples from:

The translation is not the entire article since the entire article isn’t on the site.

The knowledge of homosexuality in pre-Hispanic Mexico depends heavily on the rare sources that deal with this controversial issue. Besides rejection by the Spanish on what they called it, the "heinous sin", however perceived tolerance spaces, especially the socially accepted “berdache” or transvestite. The worldview is also a framework within which to analyze the phenomena of cross-dressing, doing research on the sex of the gods.

The homosexual deserved to be burned, according to a converted Nahua informants of Fray Bernardino de Sahagun. This image is the reality of the colonial period in which homosexuals were burned at the stake.

The discourse about homosexuality in the sixteenth century

"Because even beyond what we have done above in relation to your Majesties of children and men and women who kill and offer their sacrifices, we have known and been informed for certain that they are all sodomites and use that abominable sin." This judgement of Hernan Cortes appears in many works by Spanish authors, conquistadores for the most part, but also religious chroniclers or official historians who emphasize the alleged widespread of the "abominable sin against nature" among the Indians. The opinion of the missionaries and of the authors of indigenous origin is generally very different: they stressed the absence of "sodomites" and even, contradicting, indicates the existence of stringent punishment for homosexuals in ancient times. We are certainly faced with two opposing statements on a particularly sensitive issue by the people of their time.

If the justification of the Conquest requires the denouncement in part of indigenous customs (in the writings of the conquistadors are notable association of the allegations of cannibalism and practice of human sacrifice along with sodomy), the defense of the Indians its accompanied by the praise of pre-Columbian moral and its condemnation of homosexuality.

What were the indigenous views on homosexuality?

In addition to the written accounts of the conquistadores and of the friars, now consider the testimony written in the indigenous language: "Sodomite, puto (Cuiloni, Chimouhqui). Corruption, perverted, feces, dog shit, piece of shit, infamous, corrupt, vicious, nasty, disgusting. Effeminate. Posing as women. He deserves to be burned, deserves to be put in the fire."

In this testimony of Nahua informants of Bernardino de Sahagun, the homosexual raises a reaction of disgust and rejection.

Now, were these negative judgments delivered under the influence of the friars or reflect indigenous conceptions? No doubt that the question arises the point that Sahagun brought the Western models influence to his informants to distort the picture of these groups.

Also, do not forget that the native informants, now evangelized, could only disqualify homosexuals.