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Author Topic: (older) gay men and community  (Read 1074 times)

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Offline CalvinC

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  • Posts: 195
(older) gay men and community
« on: March 06, 2022, 07:02:15 pm »
Hi all

This isn't hiv specifically, but I know that there are a lot of gay men like me on the forum, so I am curious....

I'm sure this isn't an original observation, but it is for me, at least in the last couple of years. I've always wondered why many gay men I know don't really seem to have shaken their adolescence (and this includes me). And it occurred to me that for many of us older gay men, we left home and came out and . . . and there was no one really there to guide us, no "elders," nothing that people who are straight have, in terms of marriage and family and welcoming churches and the like. (I think that things are different today, for sure.)

I'll give you an example. I play in a gay hockey league, and it's like high school, with people battling for social position, with people who have little to recommend them save for their sports skills. I also play with a couple of straight teams in other leagues (who know I'm gay) and it's totally different. There's more camaraderie, way less emphasis on individuality and more on team effort.

I wonder, then, that the hockey example arises from that "gay adolescence" that I was talking about, that many gay men live in communities that don't have a lot of elders (because so many died of AIDS) or don't hang with older men because ageism.

Thoughts?

Cal

Offline lightalltheway

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  • Posts: 158
Re: (older) gay men and community
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2022, 04:50:32 pm »
Hello Cal,

You raised three main points: Ageism - Guidance - Time.

I do believe that the three above elements are connected. Each era has its own characteristics. And we live now in a historical moment. While individuality is prominent in the modern age, the spread of knowledge and knowledge production is so fast and rapid. When we discuss Ageism, we can also link it with lesson learnt, and i can assure you, there are plenty.

The main question, in this case, is building adolescence capacity to make the link and reflect critically on their choices in life. Further, how these choices may impact them and in which way.

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful message.

Prince.

Online leatherman

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Re: (older) gay men and community
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2022, 08:26:25 pm »
(I wrote this the other day but was having a time tying it all up.)

I think that things are different today, for sure.
I was really happy to finally see same-sex marriage become legal. Not just for me because at least one of my three relationships would actually be recognized (even though I did have rings with my first 2 long term partners); but because of the social change that would occur. Young people, young gay people, could (finally) be able to have better relationships (hmm? maybe what I mean is more socially normalized relationships) because they would be able to date in high school and work through the mental and emotional gymnastics of becoming adults and navigating relationships more easily than previous generations.

Of course, that sort of change doesn't happen over night. Just because same sex marriage is legal doesn't mean homophobia isn't still very real and something young gay people still have to deal with; but with younger people in general more accepting, and gay relationships legal, I believe a change for the better is progressing.

I wonder, then, that the hockey example arises from that "gay adolescence" that I was talking about, that many gay men live in communities that don't have a lot of elders (because so many died of AIDS) or don't hang with older men because ageism.
Even though I believe things are changing for the better, doesn't mean that gay people don't still grow up with way more issues than straight people; but unfortunately that's just the way it is living in a heteronormative world.



I have to divulge a guilty secret: I am about to turn 60 and I'm reading a ton of MM romance. OMG My husband revels in those horrible christmas hallmark movies and my mom has been reading barbara cartland books forever. Even a year before she passed away when my Nana was 103, on one visit she was so excited telling us about the book she was reading, pretending to be scandalized at the steamy parts when the characters were doing "you know what". LOL

But me, from a family of readers, I'm into political books, or paranormal or sci-fi novels. Ever-helpful Facebook suggested a sci-fi book to me and part way through (um, when I got to a sex scene) I realized I had never read a book like this before. It was sci-fi and sexy and gay! Just like getting lost on youtube from one song to the next, I started reading more and more MM books- sci-fi, paranormal, and then just romance. It's turned into quite an obsession, and even with all the other stuff I do to fill my days, I'm ripping through a novel a day!

so the short version of all that (LOL I used to get fussed at all the time around here for writing such long posts. pfft! My report cards all say I talked too much....and I still do but in text. LOL) is to say that if these kinds of books were around in 1976, I would have grown up with examples of living life better and having better relationships.

being a (mostly invisible) minority and having to second guess every interaction in case it could result in violence (emotional, mental, physical) against you is hard. Starting clear back to when our own parents were the start of the discrimination we face. (I always blame parents. If they didn't cast so many of us aside, or stood up for us then maybe so many of us wouldn't be hurt and wouldn't be discriminated against) Maybe "gay adolescence" is a coping skill ....  not of adolescence but of self-preservation. Remaining more secluded, not joining the team, watching out for oneself, not "being serious", etc keeps us safer from emotional and physical pain.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

Boy, you're right in front of me
I need you to dance with me
Ooh, you're right in front of me
I'm gonna need your hands on me
- Darren Hayes, "Do you remember"

Offline CalvinC

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Re: (older) gay men and community
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2022, 11:04:47 pm »
Maybe "gay adolescence" is a coping skill ....  not of adolescence but of self-preservation. Remaining more secluded, not joining the team, watching out for oneself, not "being serious", etc keeps us safer from emotional and physical pain.

I'd agree with you here, in terms of gay people doing the best with what they have (had).

But I suppose in some ways, those adolescent coping skills we used when we came out in the 70s and 80s should be gone by now, in that there are so many resources that people can access (clubs, leagues, and so on) to help them mature and "grow up".  And I often see that it hasn't, and it makes me both frustrated and sad.

As I mentioned with the sports example, it's like high school, those competitive years where we tried to figure out our social selves, where the jocks and beautiful girls rested atop the pecking order. That I see this played out repeatedly in gay sports at first surprised me and now only brings me down.

Or maybe it's just all triggering for me those fraught high school days. At least I'm old enough now to make sane decisions as to how I might react to what I see. I can leave, if I want. I could try to change things, but I think that that would be foolish. All I can do is model for others and myself good sportsmanship and kindness, both on and off the ice.

Cal
« Last Edit: March 10, 2022, 11:07:37 pm by CalvinC »

Offline harleymc

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Re: (older) gay men and community
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2022, 03:03:32 am »
I play in a lgbtiq softball league, no issues with over inflated ego it's ver supportive all all levels of skill and disability.

If you don't enjoy the league you're in leave. It's that simple.

The issues you have identified have nothing to do with sexuality or age. To suggest otherwise is hate speech.

 


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