Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gay Ageists, Gaygists?

Just a tired old bitter queen.
So recently I seem to feel a spate of ageism on the rise in the gay community.  Which I find strange because in Miami's gay male community seems more integrated than ever.  However I've read couple of posts on social media and heard about few community events have been clearly ageist in nature and it saddens me because Miami does gay in a very different way than other communities.

What? Now I have to let myself go?
So in full disclosure this blog is called Miami After 40 because its about an aging gay man in his forties. (late 40s now)  As I think about changing the name of this blog to "After 50" and start pushing Geritol and Rose Hips, I feel a bit sensitive about agesim.  Also, since the generation immediately before mine, approximately 500,000 gay men, died in the epidemic, ageism wasn't really a factor for gay men, because there just wasn't enough "men of a certain age" to warrant it.
So getting back to ageism. Sometimes it can be subtle, for example a buff, ripped handsome 40 something year old man posted a shirtless selfie on Scruff. A hookup site originally intended for more hirsute, older (30+ ) men and their admirers. Not to be confused with Silver Fox which is another demographic entirely.  But I digress. The man who posted the shirtless pic was told to "dignify", "act his age" etc. etc.  He was actually annoyed enough to post the interaction on FB.

Sometimes it's obvious, like a pool party thrown by a group called Impulse, supported by AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation),  which targets young men for HIV prevention. Men over 40 were charged $50 at the door, men under 40 were free.  Which would fine, if it wasn't billed as a "community" party. Unfortunately,  their non-apology apology on their FB page didn't help matters much. A restatement of your mission statement is not really an apology is it?  Secondly, if they made it a private event, for guests under 40, with a guest list, the whole messy business could avoided a lot of hurt feelings and one less reason for us to hate AHF and its stubborn opposition to PreP.

Sometimes ageism is just internal. My Grandmother's favorite saying was always "Don't get old, the only thing that gets better with age is Jamaica Rum."   This slow degradation of the body, aches, pains, wrinkles, grey hair is not fun. Especially in a community where youth and vibrancy are valued. However, aches, pains and wrinkles are part of the human condition and I earned them and I should get respect for them. If I exercise, compete, work out, I do it for me, to stay fit, to stay "younger", not to pick up somebody younger. Because this is the only body I have and I've got to make it last. Because, let's face it, most of us if we're lucky, will be considering adult diapers at some point in our journey.

Yes, I feel that just being older automatically deserves a little respect.  Young people should just assume I have more experience and knowledge based on the fact that I'm older.  A simple "sir" will suffice. I'm cool with that. No, me being nice, is not me hitting on you, get over yourself.  Believe me, at some point they stop hitting on you, so just enjoy the attention that youth brings and show some respect for your elders.