While it may sometimes seem like Queerty only cares about politicians, studs and celebrities (in that order), nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we strive to include all members of the gay community, regardless of how ripped their abs are or elite their contacts. To that end, this is Average ‘Mo, where we introduce you to regular gays from around the world to discover what life is like in their neck of the woods.
Today, a Fulbright Scholar discusses life south of the border.
QUEERTY: Where are you from originally?
Brandon: Sierra Vista, AZ. I moved to Tucson in middle school.
You’re a Fulbright Scholar in Acapulco now; what does that entail?
I am an English Teaching Assistant; there are five of us here in Mexico. I actually applied for Brazil but got put on the alternative candidate list. Then Mexico called to ask if I wanted to participate in their brand new program. I applied through Bowling Green State University, where I graduated with a Masters in Spanish in August of last year.
What do you hope to do once out of academia?
Even though I thought I wanted to teach Spanish in higher education and eventually go for a PhD – since my dad has his and I do love going to school – I’m not too sure about that anymore. I have a new “plan” just about every day, which has included everything from moving to South Korea or Japan to teach English, or the Middle East. Or maybe going back to school for science, which I was really good at in high school—maybe green technologies or something. What I do love doing is traveling and learning different languages.
At what age did you come out?
I came out at about the age of 17 or 18, I actually don’t remember very well if it was the summer before senior year of high school or during that year.
What’s the gay scene like in Acapulco?
The gay scene in Acapulco is “thriving,” you might say. And by thriving I mean there are about five gay bars that are usually pretty busy on the weekends. I haven’t really been lucky though in the love department here, though. Usually what happens is I’ll meet someone that I find attractive and interesting, but who is, of course, visiting from Mexico City. And speaking of tourists, the spring-breakers arrive soon at the end of this month and all of next, which is going to be puro desmadre as the locals phrase it.
Where’s your favorite spot to hang out?
My favorite local hangouts are probably Squid Roe, a restaurant-bar chain, and Zoom, the newest gay bar, both of which are on the coster, or main beach drive. Mostly because they tend to play at least a little bit of hip hop and R&B, which is hard to come by in bars and clubs in Mexico. Any place that caters to my requests for “Single Ladies” can expect to see me on their dance floor every weekend.
How easy is it being in Mexico?
I lived in Guadalajara for 10 months in 2006 and 2007, so I’m somewhat familiar with the culture and the way things work around here. Being an ambiguous-looking person of mixed descent (dad’s black, mom’s Cape Verdean) I can pass for a Mexican until I open my mouth—although some people do ask if I’m from here. It’s relatively easy for me to fade into the background and live an every day life. But it’s certainly not perfect. I live in one of the poorest states of Mexico, Guerrero, and one of the most affected by the recent drug cartel-related rash of violence. There’s definitely an atmosphere of fear – perhaps precaution is a better word choice – that I can sense among my friends and students. Just recently some students were robbed in the parking lot and a neighbor of my school was shot dead in front of the entrance three weeks ago. But life still goes on for the majority of Acapulqueños.
You can learn more about Brandon and his travels down south here, at his blog.