Forty Something Gay Pride

Forty-Something Gay Pride - Don't Get Me Started!

Well, it's Pride week for the gays and good for us...I guess. I know that I should be ripping my shirt off (though many would beg for me to put it back on) don a rainbow colored afro wig, sling back pumps and march in a parade but alas, unlike Dolly Levy in Hello Dolly - that parade has passed me by and I'm not all that concerned about it to tell you the truth. Forty-something Gay Pride - Don't Get Me Started!

What do you do when you see all the images of a group that you're supposed to be associated with and don't see yourself anywhere? I can imagine this is how the fat girls feel when they look at a Vogue or how black people have felt for years before they were represented in the media. But there's something more to it.

I've known for years that the gay community that preaches acceptance has done little to accept everyone. The perfect picture of a gay man is the portrait of Dorian Gray. Always young, handsome enough to be called pretty yet something just a bit off. (You know, like a portrait in the backroom that is doing all the aging.) No surprise that the story was written by a gay man. We do it to ourselves, every time. Being ever youthful seems to be the gay ideal and as I never really worried all that much about getting older...again another piece of the rainbow jigsaw puzzle just doesn't fit for me.

This all struck me when I read an article on queerty.com (no longer exists) yesterday about this twenty-three year old kid who has been broadcasting his own show on YouTube, "Ask A Gay." He was picked up by outzone.com (which no longer exists) to do reporting for them on Pride festivities in New York and be a regular correspondent on their site. This is a twenty-three year old kid who is a manager of a Gap store and talks about such important things as who should wear the "skinny jean" and who shouldn't. (The boy is as flouncy as they come) Kudos to him for getting a regular gig but as the article on Queerty suggested, I wouldn't ask that particular gay for any advice and who is Bravo (the parent company for outzonetv) doing any favors by continuing the stereotypical image of gays? Didn't they all ready do enough with Queer Eye? And yet, does that make me less than accepting too? It just might.

My point is that I'm not young enough to be picked up by Bravo or MTV, not old enough to be living in Palm Springs and I don't qualify to be a David Geffen gay (all the money and power in the known universe). So where pray tell am I, a forty-something gay who has been with the same man for almost nineteen years, living a simple life and secretly wishing for fame, fortune or at the very least recognition in the community that is supposed to represent me supposed to take my act? That's right, there's no place like home for me apparently unless I start swishing, taking steroids to pump up or someone in my family dies and leaves me millions.

PlanetOut, the parent company for magazines like The Advocate, Out and almost every other glossy magazine for gays is in financial trouble. It doesn't surprise me as the magazines all seem identical at this point with the exception of the cover. (Read that blog here... PlanetOut Really Down And Out? ) But could it be that there are more gays like me out there somewhere? Gays who just aren't buying what our gay media wants to sell us? Triangle pink diamond partner rings, real estate in Key West and believe it or not, not everyone wants to be sailing to Cancun with the five shirtless guys with great abs sipping umbrella drinks in the ad either (sorry, just can't imagine floating around on some barge while no one on the ship can get past the "S.S.S.S." part of the name of the ship. Perhaps it's because I was Cleopatra in a former life - been there done that?).

I used to tell myself that I could still be one of the crowd I saw at parades and in magazines but the more I look around it's not about becoming a certain age that pushes me out of the "running of the gays", it's that I was never part of that crowd in the first place. I don't have a leather harness in the back of my closet, I don't have a healed scar from the nipple ring from my impetuous youth, and I don't have pictures of me on a float in drag.

Dare I say it, with all my passion for life, the humor I find in it and my man, I'm just one of the dreaded <look right, look left, whisper> normal gays. And there seems to be increasingly less and less representation of us in the world. If we don't look like the gay that dumped Lance Bass or we don't have the money of the gay mafia, we're in no gay man's land. We're not "gay enough" for TV and not rich enough to buy the $25,000 tables at an AIDS benefit, so we are non-existent.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of Pride but the question would be why gay websites, the media and other gay men don't appear to have any pride that I'm one of them? I'm not the wall flower at the dance but I'll also never be voted Homecoming King/Queen. So for those of you reading this who also fall into the category that I do, I just want you to know that although no one may ever ask you to be in an ad without your shirt on for gay furniture and you don't have a rainbow flag hanging from your garage, you're a gay too. An important part of the gay community and I celebrate you. Us regular garden variety gays need to stick together and perhaps when publishers like PlanetOut and television figure out there's more of us than them and they'll get smart and market to us.

What I really want is for all you forty-something gays who aren't afraid of being forty (trying to still pass for 29 and dating a twenty-one year old who thinks you're 26) to throw your Advocate magazines in the trash, flip the channel when there's another Pride parade being mocked by the evening news showing only the drag queens, go to your window and scream, "I'm gay as hell too and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Forty-something Gay Pride - Don't Get Me Started!

 

 

 

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Comments 9 comments

Johnny J in Charlotte 9 years ago

Amen, Amen, Amen. My days in the 40-something set are surely numbered. And though I remain fabulous on many fronts, I could not agree more with your commentary. I have surrounded myself with too many young folk for too long. I am over the youth obsessed pride movement. Can't we all just be normal?


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Johnny J - you and I are going to start this new movement and no one will be able to stop us!!! Hang in there and know that you're not alone.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

This was good, although I think, with few exceptions, we're a youth- and looks-obsessed culture anyway, at the very least in popular media. When was the last time you saw an ugly person on TV? Even Ugly Betty isn't even close to being ugly!

Combine that with, in the gay (male) community, our own propensity to favor looks over anything else, and you can't help but images like these from coming out. But I agree having William Sledd and Carson Kressley as the most visible gay personalities presents a very, very limited view of the breadth of who we really are.


Huntley 9 years ago

First...I think your observations are delicious, terribly witty and most of all...honest. A recent conversation with Mr. Mickelson revealed that I will have missed a grand opportunity if I don't ring you up for a smart cocktail the next time I'm in your part of the world.You are so spot on about the constant messaging from the media. Paris Hilton finally admited she's been "acting dumb," now I just wish some of our "community" would admit they have been ACTING fabulous not BEING fabulous. I'm one year away from 40 and looking forward to the next ten years. I have gladly hung up my disco boots, but I refuse to walk away from the fun in life. And believe me, my brand of fun is not found in the cruise line ad either. Don't get me wrong. When I get the itch, I'm still up for a good night of solid professional cocktail consumption. I've just begun to itch less than I used to. Most nights my happiness comes from making a cute dinner at home, listening to music and sharing a couple bottles of wine with good friends. I'm most thankful for the diversity of experiences and friendships I have enjoyed in my almost 40 years of living. I have to admit I have a 26 year old boyfriend of two years. And don't you just hate it when a blog calls you out? But this boyfriend is not your typical expense-account twinkie. We live a very normal, loving, day-to-day life, which includes respectable jobs, a manageable mortage and an amazing array of close gay AND straight friends of all ages and background. This year I have been out and proud for 10 years. I was happy then and remain so today because I try to keep a clear perspective and, most of all, stay REAL with people. I can assure you I won't celebrate this milestone wishing I looked more like the model on the cover of a gay publication.I must extend a heart-felt "Thanks!" to you for refinforcing the proper perspective and reminding us all to thoughtfully adjust, but TRUST the lens we use to look at our lives. I'll be sure to remember that as I puff up with PRIDE this week and celebrate the real friends. the real honesty and the real fun in life. Happy Pride!


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Huntley, Thank you for your kind words and your insights. Believe me when I say, I don't think there's anything wrong with us 40-something gays partying like it's 1999 (and I know we all still do on occasion). Congrats on all that you are and don't be afraid of the 40 year milestone...it doesn't hurt a bit. I promise!


RebelWIL 9 years ago

WOW!Your blogs are really great and I’m PROUD to be a 43 year old gay male!I would like to ask your permission to reprint your blog in a newsletter & Website I publish here in rural Northern California called the “Sierra Gay Men’s Network” (www.sgmn.org).

I found your blog to be just what is needed to be said and in just the right words for this community here above Sacramento.

Shit, I’ll even sign you up for a free subscription and invite you to publish more articles!

Let me know if I can reprint (giving you full credit with link to your blog) and if you would like a free subscription!

Thanks Again for your words of wisdom said in just the right way- It makes my “not” going to PRIDE parades all the more enjoyable!

Wil


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Wil,

Yes, yes, yes to all of it. Very sweet of you. Please email me - scott@somelikeitscott.com and we'll figure it all out!

Scott


Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 9 years ago

Someone very close to me came out to management at a division of Time Warner, in order to receive domestic benefits for her partner. The benefits were on the books, but no one before her dared to make use of them. Her partner was in graduate school at the time, and really needed the medical insurance. Needless to say, she became a heroine to all who walked with her. To me, that's the essence of pride :-)


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Guru-C, I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for sharing that inspiring story. These are the stories we should be telling and living. Scott

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