A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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May 24, 2005 — “It’s genetic,” proclaimed the gray-haired Mexican taxi driver as we hurtled through the streets of Queretaro. “Man must make the decisions about everything… about sex, about politics, about money. Woman must nurture. Patriarchal philosophy is correct. Matriarchal philosophy is responsible for many of the bad things that have happened here in Mexico, like lesbianism.”

I held my tongue. This guy wasn’t going to be persuaded by anything I said. I was glad we were entering the grounds of the bus terminal and would soon be out of the taxi.

As Kelly and I walked away from the cab, we commented on what a dinosaur the guy was, but also more interesting than many Mexican cab drivers. He had certainly voiced his position clearly.

“I’ll put him in my blog,” I said. “He’ll make a good lead-in to the piece I’ve been planning to write about that conversation the other day.” Kelly and I had met a lesbian couple who live in Queretaro and are active in matters of women’s health and self-esteem.

As we have long had friends and family members who are lesbian and gay, there is no doubt about where Kelly and I fall on the spectrum of opinion. We both respect and celebrate the rights of all individuals to create their own lives. For a while we took part in PFFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays).

So when we met the Queretaro couple, I was curious to ask them what it was like for them in Mexico. I had the chance to talk a while with one of them, at a private gathering we were attending. I received her permission to blog about what she told me. She said that Queretaro is a very conservative Catholic city, and that people are very polite. She and her partner have many friends who are Catholic. They have a good life here.

I commented, “I’ve noticed that many Mexican Catholics don’t believe everything their church tells them to.”

She nodded. “Of course. For example, not to use birth control, but it’s necessary.”

I asked what kind of reaction a trans-sexual would receive in Mexico, or someone whose gender wasn’t totally obvious. “We have a friend in the United States who is reluctant to travel in rural areas of the U.S.,” I said. “This person is concerned that s/he could get beaten up for using the wrong bathroom at a gas station, for example.”

“That would not be a problem here in Mexico,” she replied. “As I mentioned, people are generally very polite here, no matter what their views are. They prefer to avoid confrontations.”

That certainly fit in with what we’d seen here. In almost half a year in Mexico, I had only heard one loud argument, and that was one that wafted into our house around 3 in the morning from somewhere in the neighborhood.

Also, I was reminded of a conversation I’d once had with a gay man from Mexico whose English was excellent and who had lived in the U.S. “The Mexican culture is so much more demonstrative than yours,” he had said. “It is natural for any two people to show some physical affection in public. So while my partner and I prefer to be discreet in public, we don’t have to worry that a spontaneous gesture will seem out of place.”

The lesbian and I wrapped up our conversation and went over to join a larger group of people. Her last comment was, “Tell your friends to come to Mexico. They will receive a warm welcome here.”

I believe it.

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