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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An acquired taste, like Tab cola, Some Like It Scott is one gay man's experiences with love, life and things that make him crazy, all done to a musical theatre soundtrack.