Is Mérida friendly to gays? Welllll….

I know almost nothing about gay life in Mérida.

There was a website devoted to the topic, but its gone now. Google search engine results don’t give much information. Hopefully now, this item will come up when people search “gay Mérida,” and the poor reader still won’t learn anything. Much.

Google “lesbian Mérida” and you’ll find even less.

There are some very gay clubs, with entertainment, outside of Centro, and one in the hotel zone, plus a spa and some gay-friendly cafés in Centro, but of all the gay people I see in Mérida, and there are quite a few, these places aren’t really mentioned or even relevant. People here work hard, have their friends, socialize in private homes. I’m not sure who is going to the clubs, with their drag shows and strippers. Some bloggers have suggested they cater to the sugar daddy scene, with young needy boys seeking a caretaker that they can take care of.

Lately, stories about gay murders have been troubling. An accountant in Progreso was clubbed to death by someone he connected with, I assume a hustler. More recently, a gay bartender in a bar near the main market was murdered in a “crime of passion,” according to police. (2013 update: Since this post, two more homicides of gay expats by young men in questionable circumstances. The second one was especially heartbreaking because it was the second time I know of that he was attacked by a young man. The first time, he was in a coma and not expected to pull through. But he did, and now this.)

But gay couples seem happy here. One couple was on a cable TV show, portraying their purchase of a house. Gay expats are prominent, running real estate agencies, cooking schools and galleries. Until there was a gay-owned guesthouse, but it was sold. (2013 update: I know of two gay-owned, straight-friendly guesthouses now: Casa del Maya in Santa Ana and Villa Verde in Santa Lucia.)

This is a conservative Roman Catholic city, but the people are tolerant and sweet, even as national polling indicates significant opposition to gay marriage or adoption. The city is more “live-and-let-live” than New England, where I live now. So is Mérida gay friendly? The truth is mired in shades of gray. Just choose your friends carefully.

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Comments

  1. The gay and lesbian community in Merida have their own magazine, with a nice online site to go with it. Check it out: http://mid-open.com/

    Merida Lesbians have an online community for themselves on Facebook. Check it out: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Solteras-Less-Merida/106226992763453

  2. Oh dear! Yes, about these murders.

    There are murders of wives by husbands, of husbands by wives…. there are lovers’ fights of all types. There are love-forlorn suicides, gay, straight and undetermined.

    Merida and surroundings have a million people. Progreso and outlying towns add up to hundreds of thousands more.

    Yes, you are going to hear about a murder of a gay person now and then. Just as there are occasional – and that’s all it is, really, here in Merida, occasional – acts of violence against any type of person.

    Lovers’ quarrels, jealousy, anger do not occur in Merida alone. You hear more of these things because they are simply more titillating, just like in the US media…. no surprises.

  3. Hello Imagine!

    Well, as you say, you don’t know much about gay life in Merida. The gay service group that meets weekly for youth. The many bars you don’t mention. Besides Pride, there is Scalibur (like Excalibur, we suppose), Milk, Blue Namu (brand new too), and other smaller places.

    They are not solely “sugar daddy / needy boy” places, but discos where young people go to dance, where groups of friends go out to blow off steam, where friends and family (yes! it’s true!) go out to see the show of female illusionists and strippers brought from Cancun or traveling from Monterrey or Mexico City or Guadelajara or even some local talent!

    There’s an annual gay pride parade and rally for gay people.

    There are gay-friendly cafes and gay friendly people across the town but particularly in Centro. The people are uniformly – really, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? – accepting of gay couples. They may not want gay couples in their families. They may not think being gay is for their son or daughter. But they really could care less if a gay couple lives on their block.

    There are long-time drag queens who are successful in their daytime (male) and nighttime (female impersonator) jobs. Some of them have earned enough to open their own bars. or other businesses.

    There are guest houses own by gay couples, so there are certainly still “gay” guest houses in town, but yes, the one officially gay guest house was sold… to a crazy person who turns out not to like gays (so why buy it?) and has been cranky ever since.

    So, there is a LOT to gay life in Merida. And we haven’t even crossed into all the related topics, like the quiet but connected artists, the wonderful concerts of popular and classical music, the theater and dancing, all of which are simply filled with gay people of all shapes, sizes and genders.

    Being “from away” makes it harder to see inside the veneer of a foreign land, but there is every bit just as much gay life and culture as you will find in any city of a million or more people in the USA. And, there is much less open or covert bigotry. There is very much a “live and let live” attitude for others.

    Merida is a wonderful place!