Mexico Gains As a Home for Gay U.S. Retirees
As baby boomers enter retirement, the American dream of spending carefree golden years in a tropical oasis has never seemed further out of reach. Faced with dwindling 401K accounts and rising health care costs, many must consider going back to work indefinitely instead of enjoying the final chapter of their lives. But a growing number of LGBT retirees are discovering an affordable alternative south of the border.
While the U.S. continues its war on illegal immigrants from Latin America, Mexico is embracing thousands of Americans each year providing a welcome jolt to the economy. With virtually free public health care, temperate climates, and endless opportunities for entrepreneurship, the appeal to U.S. retirees is no secret. Reports of escalating drug-related violence, however, have scared many from even visiting Mexico.
EDGE reached out to several expats who have made the move south, including adult film star and trans advocate Buck Angel. Angel, or the self-named "man with a pussy," broke boundaries in the U.S. by becoming the first trans man to appear in an all-male gay porn earning him countless accolades including "Transsexual Performer of the Year" at the AVN Awards, but grew weary of the government’s crackdown on the adult entertainment industry. He applied for a Mexican visa five years ago, and has remained there ever since.
"The whole political climate really inspired me to get out of the States," Angel told EDGE. "Because my work is so intense, it is great to have a relaxing place I can go in between my work trips. It is perfect to have a haven here, which is very private, and affords me a lifestyle I could never have in the U.S."
Angel resides in Merida, a coastal community on the Yucatan Peninsula. For what he would have paid for a studio apartment in Los Angeles, Angel owns a property that he describes as a "private resort" -- complete with a guesthouse, pool house, separate office, and private gym. With his jet setting lifestyle, Angel employs a full-time domestic staff that takes care of his every need at a fraction of what it would cost him in the States.
"My life here is ridiculously luxurious," he confessed. "Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I could have the amazing lifestyle I have here. It is totally a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. Everything from real estate and domestic help, to food and healthcare is extremely affordable."
Growing Number Take Advantage of Cheap & Good Healthcare
Though reports have portrayed the Mexican health care system as "third world," Angel claimed he has "never had better medical care in [his] life." Recovering from a recent hysterectomy, Angel said the Mexican doctors took time to keep him informed throughout the procedure. And he recommended that anyone in need of surgery should consider travelling to Mexico to escape the States’ astronomical healthcare costs.
"You can pay for your trip and have a vacation for much less than just the medical bills in the U.S.," Angel said. "My private hospital room was like a deluxe hotel room, yet it cost less than plenty of hotels I’ve stayed in around the world. The doctors are absolutely phenomenal and take so much time to explain everything, like you’re the only patient they have to deal with. This is so different from the impersonal attention I’ve received in the U.S."
As a transsexual, many doctors would refuse to operate on Angel in the States. Mexican doctors, on the other hand, have been nothing but "accepting, kind, and compassionate," he said. For that reason alone, Angel believes Mexico is an excellent option for LGBT retirees.
The community in Merida is surprisingly queer too, he added. Homophobia and hate crimes are virtually nonexistent and natives welcome the gay community with open arms.