On November 17, 1901, Mexico City police raided a house where they found 41 prominent men dancing together – many wearing women’s clothing. One of the men attending the party was Ignacio de la Torre y Mier, a politician and the son-in-law of then-Mexican President Porfirio Díaz.
In the Netflix film Dance of the 41, director David Pablos and screenwriter Monika Revilla tell the story of de la Torre and how the political sex scandal that revolved around him was the first time the Mexican media openly reported on homosexuality and the LGBTQ+ community in the country.
Mexican actor Alfonso Herrera (TV’s Queen of the South) portrays de la Torre in the film. “You need to go to the past in order to understand who you are as a person or who you are as a society,” Herrera told NBC News. “What would have happened if Ignacio was not discovered as a gay man? He would have been one of the important Mexican figures from our history, but he was taken away from that because he was gay.”
To prepare for the film, Herrera did a lot of research on de la Torre, including reading the book El Exilio by Carlos Tello Díaz. He also learned that some of the men who were outed at the party ended up in labor camps.
“I think that this film talks about what happens if you really want to be yourself and perceptions of society,” Herrera says. “This story talks about people wanting to be free, wanting to not feel attached or feel that they need to behave in a certain way in order to be accepted.”