Saturday, September 18, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Gen Silent is a new documentary film on the difficulties senior lesbian, gay, and transgender people are facing to address their basic health needs. This is about discrimination and silence in old age. Thanks to Stu Maddux for creating another powerful and moving film. We need to get these stories out in the big and small screen, the cyberworld, the press, and in our dining tables.
Come and support the film when it comes to your city. Check the website for updates.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The story of the AIDS epidemic remains unresolved. Not only are people still getting infected, but also we, gay men, are still struggling with guilt, the morality of HIV/AIDS, the courage and hope we once had, grief, and bigotry.
Thanks to Roger Goodman and his team for undertaking this task.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A few days ago, I attended a reception to announce the launch of a major program, at both the local and national levels, for older LGBT. I, not yet an older gay man, was the only brown person in the room. There were no African Americans, males or females. And nobody raises the issue or questions it. That’s what I would call the status quo and the invisibility of large sectors of our society.
I am not blaming organizations or groups. There are a few individuals in those organizations concerned about the lack of ethnic minorities in their membership. This is a reality many of us are dealing with and trying to figure out. In my own research, I have trouble finding older gay men who are African American of Latin American descent. I can’t find them.
Where do they live? With their families of origin? Where do they socialize? Do they think of themselves as gay or bisexual men? Does their gay/bi identity matter to them?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Or perhaps the early familiarity with death has provided gayby boomers with resources to better deal with death in their older years?
Monday, May 17, 2010
Everybody seemed cheerful and in good spirits. They smiled, joked, and teased each other. I was not nervous or anxious. I felt at home. In a kind and tranquil space. This is not the first time I interacted with older folk, gay or straight. In fact, an astrological reading once told me I was an “old soul.” When I was in fourth grade, back in Mexico, I’d frequently spend recess with an older teacher, a woman in her late sixties, who had taught me the year before. She used to remind us that she was chewing gum because she was ill. It was medicinal gum. We shouldn’t be chewing gum. In my late teens I related better with my friends’ parents than with my friends. Later, when I came out as a gay man, in my mid- twenties, my best gay friends were much older than me. My first long term boyfriend was seventeen years older than me. In my thirties, I started socializing with a group of older gay men, mostly from the suburbs of Chicago. My friend Norm introduced me to a group called “Imagine.” Most of the members were white, older than fifty-five, well off, and conservative –except for my friend Norman who is fairly progressive. I have gravitated around older folks for a long time.
Back at the group -- the conversation, while at times seemed random, centered on three related issues: health, identity, and stigma. As they shared their thoughts it was clear that health issues are a daily concern and in the forefront of the lives of these gayby boomers. Illness is a major threat. As an older gentleman (perhaps in his eighties) stated, “I’m thankful that I’m still in good health.”
The people in the group come together as gay, lesbian, and transgender, not only as seniors. So they talked about their frequent invisibility in both the larger society and the gay community. They evoked Rock Hudson as a gay man who lived a life as a heterosexual man in the screen. Then they talk about the immediate reality of facing living alone or living in assisted living housing and depending on senior centers: “We’re going to be living with the same bigots who hated as when we were younger,” a woman emphatically spoke. She urged the group to directly confront homophobia in those spaces. Others in the group did not want to be so outspoken. They did not want to directly present themselves as GLBT people. This is a long-lasting dilemma for many of us.
I left the meeting with joy, but thinking: where are the gayby boomers of color? Where are the Latino and Black guys? Why they are not around here? I’m sure there are somewhere in the city! I’m also wondering if what I have been learning about the gayby generation reflects the lives of Black and Latino gayby boomers.