Ximena Violante, a queer Mexican-American musician, spoke to UTSA students last week about her experience with Mexican music and culture and its fusion with other genres and cultures. Originally from Philadelphia, Violante recalled her disillusionment with music school and its academic focus on western music. As a result, Violante immersed herself in Latino and LGBTQ paradigms and strove to create music that combined the two to create a shared space for people of all genders and backgrounds. Much of her focus is on dismantling “machismo” — the social construct of manliness and masculine pride that is pervasive in Latin American culture. Through music and storytelling, Violante gave the students a new perspective and blended experience of Mexican culture and inclusivity.