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Getting Older In The Gay World

Ramon's Gay Life Blog

Monday, April 13, 2009

LGBT seniors are twice as likely to live alone than heterosexual seniors and more than four times as likely to have no children, according to SAGE, an advocacy and service organization for LGBT seniors. Some older/mature gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people also avoid seeking needed services out of fear of discrimination and many go back into the closest to avoid being in "vulnerable" situations.

Aging as a LGBT person can be difficult for many people. One Gay Life reader shares his experience getting older:

"I am having a tough time adjusting to the fact that I am getting older and do not get the attention that I did until my mid 40's. I had put too much emphasis on fitting into the gay stereotype (looks, body, money) without any concern for the negative consequences that is my life today. What goes around comes around, I guess.

"A narcissist and avid 'circuit' man of the past, now about 8 yrs, I have found that my shallowness is coming back to haunt me. I need friends that are in my age group or older to get me through what has been causing depression and ways other men have successfully dealt with the inevitable. What was I thinking all those years? I was and still am a kind man and reliable just insecure within."

My Response:

Hi Rob,

Sure you've "aged" out of the gay scene, but understand that it's just that: a scene. When the party was my friend, I vowed that I would be like Disco Dottie from the 1998 film Studio 54, who literally partied until her last beat. Then the drama caught up with me and I got older and things changed. I see life through lights other than strobes now. Occasionally I get my dip on, but I'm more concerned with continuing to build a solid future for myself than I am impressing the glitterati.

Your life, including your priorities and goals, have shifted and that's okay. What you're seeing now is that there is more to this "gay world" than just the party and the attention of the glam-gods. It's not too late for you to discover what this next phase of your life can be. Now's the time to think about the things you enjoy (or might enjoy) and actively seek them out. That could be volunteering, some sort of sport or physical activity, a club or a number of other hobbies, which by pursuing you can surround yourself with like-minded people.

There is also an organization called SAGE, dedicated to the needs of older/mature LGBT people. Some wonderful people (staff, volunteers and supporters alike) go through their doors physical and virtual doors. You should give them a try.

Also, take it easy on yourself! Your life was what it was and now is what it is. You can't control what you've done (or didn't do) in the past. Be kind to yourself and let it go. What's important is your outlook for the future. You may have aged out of the "scene," but you haven't aged out of this gay world. And you won't until, like Disco Dottie, you take your last breath. What you have to decide now is what your new dance floor is going to be.

Link: Original Article