Saturday, July 07, 2018

Guadalajara: Mayate Sunset

In gay Guadalajara vocabulary, a "mayate" is defined as a straight acting, masculine man who has relations with other men, but in exchange of money or another favor. His true sexual orientation is blurred, because his professional allure is his "straight" mystique. He is a "top," who penetrates, but is not penetrated.

Homosexuals hang out in gay plaza territory behind the iconic performing arts theatre in the crowded center of town. That's where I met Pedro (name change) on a bench. He was more interested in talking than listening and what he had to say was interesting. So I asked questions.


Illegal Immigrant

Over the last 22 years he commuted back and forth between his home in Guadalajara and a southern state in the USA four times, which I leave unnamed. His last residence in the USA was 8 years. He always worked in Mexican restaurants, for the same chain of over 30 statewide establishments. His employers contracted, and paid for, smuggling across the border, and safe transit to the destination each time. The last time he passed at Agua Prieta, Sonora to Douglas, Arizona. Other times he crossed from Nogales, Sonora to Nogales, Arizona. He was part of a group of 40 under the care of professional "coyotes." Coyotes specialize in smuggling illegals from Mexico to USA. My new friend said the cost for his employer was around $3,500 dollars.

Before reaching the immigration line, everyone in the group cleaned up and was provided with a forged document. Each group member would pass customs with a specific official who was part of the "team". The solicitant provides a verbal code to the agent to cue him. The bribed agent receives 100 dollars per person. 4000 total in this case. If the official is discovered, prosecuted, and sent to prison, there is another willing to cooperate.

Once across the border the group is taken to Phoenix, but has to pass through another immigration checkpoint along the highway. There too, an official is working as "double agent", for US Immigration and for smugglers. Vans of undocumented persons arrive at "safe houses" in Phoenix where they are kept indoors with curtains closed while awaiting the next, safer leg of the journey, to the South.

In the South my friend needs a car to get to work. Since he has no documents to present at the DMV to register his vehicle and buy license plates, he is guided to an agent his employer bribes directly or through a middleman, to issue them.

He works 11 hour shifts, 6 days a week for about 700 dollars a week as a cook. A little better than 10 dollars an hour. Comparable to minimum wage in the state he lives in. He is issued a fake Social Security number which he uses throughout the 22 years. I don't question the accounting practices of his employers, but obviously, they save enough money hiring undocumented workers, and paying smuggling costs, to make it financially attractive.

He lives with other undocumented immigrants in apartments he hooks up through work. In 22 years he never receives a moving violation that would expose his illegal status. Yet, he claims the local courts go soft on illegals who do, because the value of illegal labor to the business community makes it worthwhile to overlook a worker's status. The local police have an accommodating attitude.

He appears to be in his early 50's. Now that he's back, he's decided to remain home for good. His 5 children are adults and he's accumulated two houses during 22 years earning in the USA. His wife runs a business out of the house they share. One of his adult children lives in and caretakes the other. He's a grandfather.

He claims he's waiting for a injury in his leg to heal before he seeks lower paid restaurant work in Guadalajara. Meanwhile he's hard up financially, and asks me for 20 pesos, which I give him, before he leaves to catch his bus.


Ageing Mayate

The following night we meet again at the same bench. He's hanging out here a lot, apparently not spending much time with his wife at home, who he mentions he doesn't have "relations" with. I assume sexual. Tonight the conversation turns to Mayate business. He asks me if I'm gay and I say yes. As he guessed. He's open minded, but implies he's not gay. He spends a lot of time with the gays in the plaza.

He indirectly begins to market his sexual services to me by listing achievements, which sound possible but also improbable at his age. He's mostly european ancestry, maybe 30 percent native, and has a strong, masculine, euro shape body. It's not possible to judge whether his muscles are firm and stomach flat seeing him dressed.

He's proud to say he got 500 (25 dollars) or 1000 pesos one or two times, and must feel attractive and encouraged if it's true. 500 would be 2 or 3 times the going rate for a man under 35 hustling from a risky, low end street location like the plaza according to my source familiar with matter. As opposed to service over the internet with higher standards and ostensibly more assurance the client won't be harmed and robbed.

If I had to bet I'd say he's a latent homosexual, availing himself of the Mayate closet. Which moralizes, makes right, the act of homosexuality by the fact of getting paid for it. It's a job, and the moral imperative is to make your client satisfied. Collecting money or some other benefit hides or minimizes the shame of doing it because you want to and like to.

So if he is gay, he may have been suited to being away from the family. He sent money back for 22 years and must feel vindicated he did the popular thing by society's measure. He enjoys the social benefits. At the same time he's probably regretful he wasted the chance to fully endorse who he is. Not just with his dick, but with his intelligence. He calculated there was too much to lose. He said he's got some years of experience in the Mayate scene. So he's in the gay life in a hedged way. Able to pull out without having labeled himself gay when he needs to. Hopefully, he's enjoying the sunset of his desirability to other men, further out of the closet, who accept the foibles of role playing that are part of Mayate society.

He's got the family, his biggest investment, but acting in a false identity. By hiding from them who he really is. Which can't make it easy to be close. Which may be why he stayed away in the South and now spends his days at the Plaza.

It might become the case he will be financially dependent on his wife and children as he ages, so the pressure of the closet may only close in more. No Social Security payments in Mexico. And he paid into a false SS account in USA.

I have little zeal for the Mayate culture, so woven into Guadalajara culture. It belongs to a time gone by, of homosexual persecution, that is straining to survive with support from christian sects, catholicism and evangelical protestantism, but in all liklehood, dead. Let people drop the masks, and do their sexual business honestly. Whether or not money is involved.

Homosexual prejudice, in all it's manifestations, bids up the value of being straight and "straight acting" like white racism creates a market for skin whitening creams for Africans and other dark skinned people to make themselves look more desirable to themselves and others.

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