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I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Thursday, September 8, 2022


In our modern society where ageism is a global challenge, the gay male community is considered probably the most youth-orientated community. Oscar Wilde once said, “With age, comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” And I would add, it also feels alone. In gay culture, which tends to blend self-worth and appearance, sexual attractiveness in combination with youth is a valuable currency. That is why it is especially hard for many 50+ men to accept the fact they are getting older. The smothering feeling of being invisible among other gay men who are younger and sexier can lead to social anxieties and depressive moods.

Although discriminative attitudes aimed at older gay people are rarely openly displayed, ageism is there, and we can’t expect that it will disappear only by slapping someone on the wrist for bad behavior. What we can do though is try to understand the driving forces behind it first, and then look for the proper tools to combat it.


Since time immemorial, mankind has been subject to the cult of youth. The idea of staying forever young is a recurring theme in many books and movies. We have created a world in which growing old is something everybody fears and would never reasonably choose if there was an option. Out of that existential fear have grown all types of ageism, including gay ageism, and the LGBTQ community is often to be blamed for perpetuating it.


When a person starts taking too seriously off-handed remarks and jokes about seniors, and start also dreading their birthdays, that’s a clear sign they are internalizing stereotypical social attitudes towards the elderly. As a result, some of them shun their natural social environment, and others turn to anti-aging products, medications, cosmetic and surgical procedures in an attempt to look younger. Internalized ageism’s ugly face is often manifested through depressive episodes triggered by feelings of insecurity, unattractiveness, and self-depreciation.


That’s probably the greatest harm associated with ageism, no matter if it takes women, people of color, gays, or whoever as a target. In this train of thought, ageism often goes hand in hand with ableism. The way society sets low standards and expectations for people with disabilities, it similarly treats older gay men as “incapable” or “inferior.” This prevailing attitude pushes many single 50+ gay men into leading a life of involuntary seclusion and withdrawal. What they are thinking is, “The less of me they see, the less of an Aunt Sally I’m gonna be.”


Many of the gay Millenials and Zoomers who treat the previous two generations with indifference and/or arrogance have somehow conveniently forgotten that it is due to the courageous fight for rights of the elders in the LGBTQ community that gay men nowadays have the privilege to live with less fear of being their true selves. The once young and fresh Baby Boomers have faced many hardships since the Stonewall riots. They were the first to come out despite the social hostility and the personal trauma of being shunned by family and friends. What's more, in the 80s and early 90s, they went through a health crisis of unimaginable proportions. But during the AIDS epidemic gay men of that generation sharpened their skills to fight for dignity and rights. These are the skills that will help the community once again, only this time to fight ageism.


A major part of ageing well as a gay man is resisting the many myths of ageism, the most persistent of which is that getting old is a disease. Nobody and I mean nobody, not even Cher, has succeeded in staying young forever. Until scientists come up with some revolutionary method to stop time or reverse the biological processes, we have to take care of our ageing bodies ourselves. One thing we can do is accommodate the physical changes with healthy changes that we turn into habits. Stay active, watch what you put in your mouth (and I don’t mean other men’s body parts!), pay your dentist regular visits, have enough sleep, get a vitamin boost every day, that sort of thing. After all, age is just a number on your driver's license…


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