Though most of us can’t physically travel right now, there’s still a wonderful world out there for us to explore together. Traveling In Quarantine spotlights people and places through which we can escape our sequestered realities… and in the process expand our Traveling IQ.
Traveling In Quarantine: Andrés Treviño Luna in Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco. My interest in Guadalajara first spiked in 2015, when the city began a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022. Guadalajara was a finalist, though the Games were awarded to Hong Kong.
Finally, I visited last summer to attend their Pride festivities and fell in love with the beauty of the city and the warmth of its people. And, in the process, I learned Guadalajara is pretty darn gay.
How gay is it, you ask? Guadalajara is so gay that its government has a Sexual Diversity Director to guide the state of Jalisco on LGBTQ issues. His name is Andrés Treviño Luna and he has been on the forefront of building the community and making the region more accepting for every letter of our rainbow alphabet.
He’s also a cutie and has been kind enough to share his insights on his great city.
Traveling In Quarantine interviews Andrés Treviño Luna and together we explore Guadalajara, Mexico
IQ: Where are you from and where do you live now?
Andrés: I was born in Guadalajara, but I lived part of my youth in a nearby city called León, then moved back to Guadalajara to study here.
I lived for a year in Mexico City when I was working for Congresswoman Lucia, and settled back in Guadalajara in December 2018, when the current government of Jalisco took office
How did you get involved in government and come to your position?
Since I was a student, I was always seeking to get involved in organizations and projects that had a public impact. I was elected president of my university student body which opened doors for me to participate in different organizations. That led me to work as a public policy consultant to local governments and then got hired as Chief of Staff of Lucia Riojas a young, openly lesbian, federal congresswoman (in Mexico).
At that moment the newly elected governor of Jalisco had made a promise to create an office for the LGBTQI+ agenda and they were looking for a person with knowledge in public policy to lead that space. That’s why I was invited to the position and I made the decision to leave my job as Chief of Staff in the federal congress.
Describe your featured destination, Guadalajara:
Guadalajara is the second largest city of México with almost 6 million inhabitants. It’s located in the western part of the country, and has a strong cultural identity.
Many of the Mexican symbols foreigners identify with Mexico—such as mariachi and tequila—come from Jalisco, the state where Guadalajara is the capital. The city has been recognized as one of the most important creative hubs of Mexico, having large industries, a multicultural population and a strong cultural scene.
Read Traveling IQ's article on Gay Guadalajara
Not only is the weather amazing all year long, but the city is also surrounded by nearby destinations that are pretty attractive, such as the Lake of Chapala, which has restaurants, bars and galleries in its beautiful riviera; the Primavera Forest with hot water rivers; the volcano of Colima where you can go hiking; or visit haciendas where you can spend the day at a spa and participate in other activities like horseback riding. There is always something fun to do in the city or something delicious to eat, which makes it one of the most interesting places to visit in Mexico.
What makes Guadalajara a place for LGBTQ travelers?
Guadalajara has a long history of LGBT Activism that has transformed the city into an inclusive and safe environment for the LGBT population and travelers, from the eighties till today many LGBT bars, parties, cultural festivals, bathhouses, and other initiatives have opened in the city, creating a big offer for LGBT travelers.
The government has been creating policies to include and safeguard the LGBT population, which makes it everyday easier for LGBT people to live free and proud.
Walking around the streets of Guadalajara you will find many same sex couples holding hands, and in downtown you will find many cafes, bars, restaurants or shops owned by LGBT people, offering great products and services to all.
There is also a good offer of hotels and Airbnbs owned by LGBT people that are a great option for travelers to stay comfortable, safe and well located.
What are three spots that you love in Guadalajara and why?
I love all the traditional mercados, specifically the Mercado de San Juan de Dios which is the largest market in America, where you will find all kind of products, from clothes to traditional crafts, the best Mexican food, candy and a vibrant environment that I’m sure you can’t find anywhere else.
I also find Parque de la Revolución as one of the most interesting places in the city. It’s a big public garden located in the very center of the city, surrounded by restaurants and cafes. You can sit in the afternoon and enjoy all the cultural activities happening… it’s a common spot for locals to gather and enjoy the afternoon.
This park was one of the first cruising spots back in the eighties and nineties, so it has always been occupied by LGBT population, which makes it not only a safe space for us, but a symbolic and historic place for our movement. It was here where many of the protests against police brutality were held back in the days.
My all time favorite spot in the city is Museo Cabañas, one of the most important museums in the city, where you can find the impressive murals made by Jose Clemente Orozco. I love this place, not only because of its stunning architecture and great exhibitions, but also because it has become inclusive for LGBT cultural movements. Museo Cabañas has created “Festival Androgina” a queer art festival that takes place in June, opening its doors to LGBT cultural expressions such as vogue, films, painting and more.
What are three LGBTQ highlights in Guadalajara?
During the Guadalajara’s International film festival, there is Premio Maguey a LGBT film festival that has been recognized as one of the most significant in the world.
This festival takes place every March in the city, where a great selection of queer films are projected all around the city, including public spaces, Museo Cabañas, cinemas and a special projection in Voltio, a well known cruising bar in the city.
Pride month is full of activities, from the traditional Pride March to cultural festivals such as Prohibido, an art festival that takes place in a different location every year.
There is a vibrant and boosting queer party scene in the city, each of them with different concepts, like “Hechizo” which is an open scenario for drags, “Microclubbing” that creates great parties for queer people, “Rosex” for techno lovers, “Beso” with the best of house music and many more. These parties take place all year long, so it’s always a good time to visit Guadalajara.
Read Traveling IQ's article on Gay Guadalajara
If you could choose anywhere in the world to Quarantine, where would it be and why?
I would say Comala, a beautiful small town near the volcano of Colima, surrounded by amazing nature.
How is Guadalajara opening up after quarantine and how/when will it be welcoming travelers?
The government has created a plan for return to normality, which has been designed by academics and scientists of the University of Guadalajara, business owners and government officials.
The reopening of hotels and tourism venues have been announced and those that cover all the protocols that have been established are going to be able to open soon.
So very soon we will be ready to receive once again all the travelers that are willing to have the best of times here.
Start planning your next trip through the Guadalajara Tourism website.
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