Posted by: John | September 7, 2008

Gay rights: the lost generation

Just come back from the latest OUTeverywhere (site for LGBT community – social networking sites) event in Nottingham. Basically, members organise `posses` which means gathering in Starbucks etc.

Recently there have been OUT Megaparties – London, Manchester and this weekend Nottingham. The Nottingham one involved a tour of Nottingham (nicer than you might think), Nottingham Castle, meals and a party.

A great time was had by one and all.

One of the things that i am realising is that the fears I had when i was younger haven’t come to fruition. I’m now 41 – and guess what, now I’m as old as Methuselah other people are of a similar age too!

This brings me to the final part of this posting – that of older Gay men. Twice I’ve spoken to Gay men who met their partners around 40 years ago who have recently deceased from cancer. They have never regretted a single moment of their relationships – what they don’t understand is the new society in which they find themselves – the new paradigm, if you like, of the new ways of finding contact at whatever level. It’s a technical and cultural nightmare!

When times are tougher (economically, socially, in repression terms) people often have less choice and take what’s on offer, or rather, `that was the way things were, we just got on with it`. So one man said `we met when we were 19, my partner was a teacher thus we remained rather inconspicuous. One day the neighbours had a go at them and called them homophobic expletives over a disagreement. `We were wanting to complain`, my friend said, but were told that `the Police would be more interested in what was going on under your own roof rather than the fact that somebody had threatened us`.

Another had a similar story – minus the aggro – partner died a couple of years back from cancer – now his world is just completely different. Stockport based, he hasn’t been to Manchester Gay Village or even Manchester for years.

Thank goodness Age Concern, social groups (with technical help from Councils) are there trying to stop the invisibility of these men – and that things like OUTeverywhere exist so that they can at least make forays into the new Gay world of internet, completely new ways of dating etc. A kind of dipping the toe in the water over coffees, drinks and chats.

As my first friend said `I may never find another lover, but at least i might have some good laughs`!


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