United States of Queerty

United States of Queerty: New Mexico

We here at Queerty are big fans of the United States, the nation that bore us, Celebrity Jeopardy, the hamburger and that whole representative democracy thing. It’s a nation rich in natural resources, can-do attitude and homosexuals, and each week, we’re visiting a new state to find out just what makes it so uniquely fabulous.

New Mexico
Easy Enchantment

new_mexicoWhile New Mexico may be one of the last states to join the union, it has one of the longest histories. People have lived in the area since 9,200 BC. By 1050 BC, the Pueblo culture had built multi-story settlements that still dazzle visitors today. In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors explored the state and, by force and settlement, the unique mole of cultures that make up modern New Mexico began simmering. Cowboys and Americans settled the area in the 1800s, and the 20th Century saw great waves of migrants pour in along “the mother road,” Route 66.

Today, the state continues to see influxes of new blood, this time from the Mexican border. For gays and lesbians, despite widespread poverty, New Mexico’s diversity has led to easygoing lives. New Mexico has its own version of ENDA and is generally tolerant of gay adoption.

The Fight For Your Rights

picture-124A domestic partnership bill failed to pass the Senate in February, despite growing support from the more conservative southern part of the state and the efforts of Gov. Bill Richardson.

The Los Cruces Sun-News reported:

“The bill has gotten snared in the Senate for the past couple of years, although the House has passed it previously.

It would have allowed gay or straight unmarried couples to register as domestic partners and have the same legal protections and benefits as married couples…

“If you’re mad, you should be mad,” Linda Siegle, a lobbyist for Equality New Mexico, told a dejected crowd outside the Capitol. “The people in this building said you are not equal, you are not worthy, you do not deserve the same rights as most of them have.”

Siegle said religious groups were influential in the bill’s defeat. The Roman Catholic Church, which previously was neutral on the issue, lobbied against it this year.

“I think what they’ve invited today is a lawsuit seeking marriage — absolute equal rights. … I’m sure there are folks that are ready to pursue that,” said Patti Bushee, a Santa Fe city councilor.”

Local Hotspot
Albuquerque Social Club
4021 Central Ave NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico
505/ 255-0887

There’s no easy way to say this: Albuquerque’s gay nightlife scene has been decimated in recent years, with gay venues Pulse, Albuquerque Mining Company and Martini Grill all closing. Picking up the slack has been The Albuquerque Social Club, a private club that, despite its name, is open to all with a valid ID. Locals pay $10, out-of-towners pay $5. The club stays open til 2pm on weekends, with DJ’s, dancing and plenty of ‘Burque friendliness.

Model Citizen

Steven K. Homer is a New Mexico native living in Albuquerque, where he’s a law professor at the University of New Mexico.

What’s the best part about living in New Mexico?

The weather, the geography, the food, a general culture of tolerance, the people. For me, it’s really about the geography and the land—the physical nature of it. The scale of it so different from the East Coast, the amount of space you have and the distance to the horizon. I love the East Coast, but I always feel a little claustrophobic there.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing gays and lesbians in New Mexico?

For New Mexico, it’s the size of the state and the relatively thin distribution of the population, and we’re a poverty state, so I think that makes it hard to do a lot of things: hard to raise money, hard to organize, hard to get people to participate in the community. I think we’re competing with Mississippi and Louisiana for poorest state in the country.

Describe your average New Mexico gay.

Probably a little bit of a homebody, definitely into a circle of friends, because there’s not a huge nightlife scene here. Probably out, for the most part; that probably varies in the smaller town, people are probably more closeted. Down-to-earth, kind of rural—that sort of thing.

If there’s one thing a gay visitor to New Mexico should do, what is it?

10,000 Waves in Santa Fe. It’s like a hot tub place, but that doesn’t really describe it. It’s pretty fabulous. You can get a massage there, they have communal hot tubs and private hot tubs and mixed gender hot tubs. I think some are clothing optional. It’s pretty fabulous. The facilities are fantastic.

What’s one misconception about New Mexico you’d like to clear up?

You mean, besides the misconception that we’re not part of the country in the first place? Because, that’s really the biggest misconception. I’ve gone to places and say, “I’m from New Mexico,” and I’ll have people say to me, “Wow, you speak English really well!” I had a bank account in Boston and I ran out of checks, so I called to order more checks and the guy’s like, “Oh, there’s going to be a delay,” and I’m like, “Oh shit, did I bounce a check?” and he said, “Well, when we send checks out of the country, it takes longer.”

Six down, forty-four to go. Each week until we’re done, Queerty will be traveling to a new state and meeting the gays. We love featuring our readers, so if you think you’re Model Citizen material, shoot us an email at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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  • ChristopherM

    I lived in Albuquerque for three and a half years at the end of the 90s, and it was one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been. I miss it.

  • Joe Blow

    Drove through NM in the summer of 1990 while moving out to LA. Was with my roommates dad and walking to Denny’s in Tucumcari when a carload of boys drove by and yelled “faggots”. Was thankful I was moving to LA instead of NM. Might be a nice place to retire to if you like the desert.

  • atdleft

    Dammit. The domestic partner bill failed? So now what? Will Gov. Richardson try again soon?

  • Gaga

    Richardson is planning a special session around September. DP will be reintroduced then.

  • Connor

    Just have to say… the new website style sucks (sorry, but…). I like the content, I’ve been coming here for a while, but the style (to me, obviously it’s IMO) has always been a bit, erm, dubious at best. It’ll mean I visit less & less and that makes me sad…

    ps. this was just the first article on the page.

  • John

    I forced a friend to go to Albuquerque on the train with me from Los Angeles, as sort of a 4 day weekend thing, had a decent time in Albuquerque actually, loved Santa Fe and the smell of the Chapparal, drove down the Turquoise Trail stopping at all the quaint little artsy town on the way. I couldn’t live there as a young person because I want as much stimulation as I can get right now, but when I hit my 60’s and want everyone to shut up I will consider New Mexico as a place to park it.

  • brianjaymes

    In the “internet age,” NM could benefit from more and better “social networking” for gay/queer folk.

    That said, if you find yourself in Santa Fe, check out this.:

    Saturday Afternoon in the Park
    (“The Pinwheel Gathering”)

    Who? – All gay, bi, and queer men are invited.

    What? – A potluck picnic in the park, with games, kites, frisbee, music etc….
    (bring instruments, kites, games, frisbee…)

    Where? – Patric Smith Park, Santa Fe
    http://www.santafe.org/santafe/?id=315 <—- See map here!

    When? – Every Saturday at noon.

    This is a no-host event! That means everyone is welcome and everyone shares equal responsibility for assuring the success of the regular Saturday activity. To distinguish our group from other folks at the park we will use the pinwheel as a
    signal. Look for or bring a pinwheel. Google it if you don’t know.

  • icelus

    I lived in Albuquerque for almost two years, and I really liked it there. I’m from Houston, so I never really got used to the smaller urban living situation. New Mexico is, however, a wonderful place to visit, and I left behind some friends that I’d love to see again.

  • Elaine

    I live in NM and I would say that most people/places are gay friendly. That being said, one always has to be careful of the gang activity in ABQ and Santa Fe. Check out the Star Light Silver Lounge at RainbowVision in Santa Fe and the Yahoo Group for lesbians, lesbefriends. There are about 900 women on it and it is a great place for the posting of local events. Also, The restaurant Cafe Cafe in Santa Fe is lesbian-owned.

    And I agree with CONNOR above, the new format is awful. Really, all those pictures? Sigh…..

  • Mark

    My partner and I are leaving New Mexico for good in June. The state is NOT gay friendly, it puts on the appearance to attrack gay dollars, but the general population is homophobic and arrogantly ignorant when it comes to issues of equality. Yes, the scenery is beautiful, but natural beauty is not worth the sacrifice of social equality.

  • T R Turner

    I too, like the person above, simply clicked on the first place I could find to just say something… ANYTHING… about this horrible new design.

    I’m sorry. I didn’t even read this article. I COULDN’T read this article because I feel like my eyes are still shivering in their sockets after witnessing the SIN that is your new front page.


    I can’t tell what stories are newer than others. Stories are posted in multiple categories. There is no logical break between things and it’s all in your ungodly ORANGE and WHITE!

    You don’t have very interesting original content in the first place. Why try to hide that with the new shell game that is your first page?

    Do you really want me to just completely abandon this site for Towleroad? Because all you do lately is push me over the edge.

    And before you can say “well if you don’t like it then go somewhere else!” Don’t worry… I will. Good luck getting any advertising money for a gay blog which more closely identifies with a desperate and dying gay bar in the middle of a “Gayborhood” of yesteryear than it identifies as a real source of information.

    Oh… and nice job making a website with no contact information you bozos.

  • James

    I’m a native New Mexican (residing in Albuquerque) and my partner and I, like Mark, plan on moving away in June. Yet I love this state. Though a lot of the state’s more rural communities are decidedly conservative, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and the very artful Taos are quite welcoming. I have never experienced any outright discrimination here and have found a very welcoming spiritual community (local open and affirming UCC churches and MCC churches as well as some very liberal catholic churches). Nonetheless, equal rights, like many states, is moving seemingly slow. Rights may not come as quick as some states but New Mexico’s diverse (Native, Anglo, Hispanic) population definitely lends to a more diverse opinion. Just wait- change will come.


    I just have one question: why would “a gay visitor to New Mexico” be particularly interested in “mixed gender hot tubs”?

  • Gaga

    Abq is gay friendly and most people are for the most part. I love NM.

  • Bluelynx


    Lesbians and/or gay men who travel with opposite sex friends might very well be interested in mixed gender hot tubs. Cause hot tubbing is not always about sex. Duh.

  • Rain

    “Cowboy and Americans settled the area in the 1800s”

    You may want to change this line. It’s a dead give-away of historical ignorance.

    Cowboys are a Hollywood invention. The western culture associated with the cowboy is the Spanish-Mexican culture that the “Americans” found there already.

  • Lawrence

    @Joe Blow: Yeah, maybe because you were in Tucumcari, a town of 1,200. Santa Fe and Albuquerque are definitely not like that.

Comments are closed.