Dance of the Forty-One

In the early 20th century in Mexico performing dances where only men or only women attended was done frequently, albeit in a clandestine way due to discrimination and public condemnation of sexual diversity at the time. Several sources reported the celebration of parties and public events as parades with transvestite men and women, although they were justified as costume parties.[2]

The presumed organizers of the party would have been the son-in-law of then-President Porfirio Díaz, Ignacio de la Torre y Mier, married with his daughter Amada Díaz, and Antonio Adalid, nicknamed “Toña la Mamonera”,[2] godson of Maximilian I of Mexico and Carlota of Mexico;[[7]]
(Dance of the Forty-One - Wikipedia) Other sources quoted the journalist Jesús “Chucho” Rábago and the landowner Alejandro Redo as frequent organizers. The party began the night of November 17 secretly in a house rented for that purpose in what were the limits of Mexico City, the Colonia Tabacalera. Media cite the fourth street of La Paz (current Ezequiel Montes or Jesus Carranza) where the guests had gathered in different carriages. The party included, in addition, the “Raffle of Pepito”, a contest where the prize would be a sex worker.[2]

Around three o’clock on the morning of November 18, the police raided the house after a transvestite opened the door. This was stated in a journalistic note of the time:

On Sunday night, at a house on the fourth block of Calle la Paz, the police burst into a dance attended by 41 unaccompanied men wearing women’s clothes. Among those individuals were some of the dandies seen every day on Calle Plateros. They were wearing elegant ladies’ dresses, wigs, false breasts, earrings, embroidered slippers, and their faces were painted with highlighted eyes and rosy cheeks. When the news reached the street, all forms of comments were made and the behaviour of those individuals was subjected to censure. We refrain from giving our readers further details because they are exceedingly disgusting.

— Contemporary press report.[4]

A rumor, neither confirmed nor denied, soon emerged, claiming that there were in reality 42 participants, with the forty-second being Ignacio de la Torre, Porfirio Díaz’s son-in-law, who was allowed to escape. Although the raid was illegal and completely arbitrary, the 41 were convicted and conscripted into the army and sent to Yucatán where the Caste War was still being fought:

Source: Dr. Eric Cervini TikTok