Traición is a wild, dance-filled queer gathering in Mexico City that makes its Los Angeles premiere this Sunday, October 15. And while Traición is a party, it’s also much more than that — it’s a true cultural event.
In English, traición translates into either “treason” or “betrayal.” Both senses of the word influence the day on which Traición takes place. It always happens on a Sunday to take back the traditional day of family and church and make it a day of queer resistance and celebration.
The event’s drag performers are genderfuck artists who wear masks, face and body paint, bejeweled veils and sexy, see-through garments that betray all conventions of traditional drag. The DJs play diverse and eclectic beats from Latin America, the U.S. and all around the world, creating a sultry space for sexy men to defy gender and sexuality norms and make an almost mystical connection.
Traición delivers the perfect fusion of music and art to create an experience that is sexy, stimulating, and one hell of a good time. We spoke with one of Traicion’s founders, Alberto Bustamante (aka Mexican Jihad) — an Oaxaca-born DJ, architect and the creative director of Traicion and Mexico’s music collective, NAAFI — about the event and their upcoming party in Los Angeles.
What sets Traición apart from the other parties out there? How is it a collective?
Traición is not just a gay party. All sorts of identities are celebrated — not only aesthetically or in discourse. You see it on the lineup, the performance and the audience. There’s a heavy representation of female, femme and trans talent.
It’s also a “performance party” which makes the whole situation a bit more theatrical. Everyone is aware of their potential as both scene and characters; you can be someone else that day. It’s a family Sunday afternoon thing.
Traición can be translated into betrayal or treason. Which is it for you?
Right on. Why made you decide to start throwing a party like Traición?
The party was started by Diego, Uchi, Pepe and me. We are all cultural promoters and we are all queer. We had the infrastructure and talent already, yet we didn’t have a space or event where we could feel completely comfortable, have a drink with a date or just take our friends out on a Sunday. I guess it came from personal desire, as selfish as that sounds.
Why did you choose El Polencho as a symbol?
Polencho is an imaginary pre-Hispanic deity that appears in La Estatua de Sal (The Salt Statue), the sexual memoir of Salvador Novo. (You can read about it in this lovely profile that Cat wrote on the party). Polencho is the trans deity of anal sex, always in a pleasure or kink situation. For every Traición, a different artist is asked to design it. We do a flag that hangs behind the DJ booth and a limited run of t-shirts sold “to the faithful.” It’s also a provocation.
What are some ways that a queer party can strengthen the community, particularly around health or social justice issues?
It can be a crucial space for encounter and support. To manifest your desire, recognize your allies, check on your peers or even mobilize a community. It’s a moment to have meaningful conversations (at all levels).
Traición puts queer sexuality front and center. How do you think queer sexuality confronts issues of machismo, class and race?
I think being queer is already political and confrontational. Your mere presence and happiness can be a resistance. We have to celebrate our diversity and protect each other.
Traición is a distinctly Mexican event and is coming to Los Angeles, a city full of Latinos that was formerly part of Mexico. The U.S. government and president are overtly hostile to Mexicans and immigrants, yet queer Latinos have stood defiant. How does a party like yours in L.A. speak to that part of the queer community?
Traitors don’t have a country, but the flyer is in Spanish!
What’s the best music for a sexual revolution?
We should invite Chelsea Manning to DJ.