Less matriarchal in focus than prior docu on same subject (Maureen Gosling and Ellen Osborne’s 2000 “Blossoms of Fire”), Patricio Henriquez’s “Jucitan Queer Paradise” similarly takes an admiring look at the mid-sized Mexican town that’s a curious oasis of gay tolerance amidst national machismo. Diverting if somewhat superficial tour’s brevity marks educational broadcast as its logical destination.
Located in the Oaxaca region near the Guatemala border, Jucitan has a well-earned reputation for unique social and gender-role liberalism, although no one has ever explained why satisfactorily. It has been observed, however, that the population’s ethnic base in Zapotec Indian culture has resisted many imported ideas including homophobia. It’s not clear whether there are actually more gay and lesbian residents here per capita, or if they’re simply free to be more visible. In any case, novelties include a relaxed attitude toward monogamy and bisexuality (one man offhands “If you’ve never done a fag, you’re just not a whole man”); institutions like the Simone de Beauvoir Elementary School; and a nonstop calendar of large-scale parties where cross-dressing, same-sex unions, etc., are not just tolerated but celebrated.