Soon afterwards, a group of uninvited policemen arrived in their patrol cars and stormed into the residence. But none of them would have ever imagined the shocking scene they found inside: various couples, each composed by two men, were cheerfully dancing in the brightly lit hall.
There were twenty-two elegantly dressed gentlemen, as well as nineteen other guests wearing colorful lady’s garments, with high-heeled shoes, make-up on their faces, and their hair boasting elaborate hairstyles or impressive wigs. The policemen lined up 41 guests, but rumor has it there were 42 men in total. Number 42 was the party’s host, Ignacio de la Torre y Mier, who was Porfirio Diaz’s son-in-law and was married to his first daughter, Amada. Given his high position, it seems that he was allowed to escape the scene.
The 41 men were arrested and taken to imprisonment to the ominous jail called Palacio de Lecumberri, which had a special cell for the gay men -- the “J” cell.
By the way, perhaps the origin of the word “joto” (gay) can be traced back to those days of the Lecumberri jail. Please bear in mind that the name of the J letter is “jota” in Spanish. It seems that the occupants of the “J” cell were always yelling, dancing, laughing, and making a big scandal, so the director would routinely order “shut up those of the “J” cell”… a mandate that soon changed to “shut up the jotos “).
Back to the men arrested at the “Ball of the 41”, it seems that they were later sent to the state of Yucatan, where they were forced to perform public work or assist the Army in their combats against the Mayan.
Whether this story is authentic or just a myth, the truth is that since those days no straight Mexican man ever wants to have anything to do with number 41. There is no 41St. Division, Battalion, or Regiment in the Armed Forces. No hotel or hospital rooms are marked 41. Most men just throw away ticket number 41 and take another turn at the bank or any other office where turns are given. In schools, no guy wants to be number 41 of the list. They’d rather change their last name or ask the teacher to give number 41 to a girl.Straight men of 40 years of age turn 42 on their next birthday – they just won’t admit they really turned 41 because all the other men would start calling them “joto”, and the jokes and pranks would not cease in one full year.