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LGBT seniors are twice as likely to live alone than heterosexual seniors and more than four times as likely to have no children, according to SAGE, an advocacy and service organization for LGBT seniors. Some older/mature gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people also avoid seeking needed services out of fear of discrimination and many go back into the closest to avoid being in "vulnerable" situations.

Aging as a LGBT person can be difficult for many people. One Gay Life reader shares his experience getting older:

"I am having a tough time adjusting to the fact that I am getting older and do not get the attention that I did until my mid 40's. I had put too much emphasis on fitting into the gay stereotype (looks, body, money) without any concern for the negative consequences that is my life today. What goes around comes around, I guess.

"A narcissist and avid 'circuit' man of the past, now about 8 yrs, I have found that my shallowness is coming back to haunt me. I need friends that are in my age group or older to get me through what has been causing depression and ways other men have successfully dealt with the inevitable. What was I thinking all those years? I was and still am a kind man and reliable just insecure within."

My Response:

Hi Rob,

Sure you've "aged" out of the gay scene, but understand that it's just that: a scene. When the party was my friend, I vowed that I would be like Disco Dottie from the 1998 film Studio 54, who literally partied until her last beat. Then the drama caught up with me and I got older and things changed. I see life through lights other than strobes now. Occasionally I get my dip on, but I'm more concerned with continuing to build a solid future for myself than I am impressing the glitterati.

Your life, including your priorities and goals, have shifted and that's okay. What you're seeing now is that there is more to this "gay world" than just the party and the attention of the glam-gods. It's not too late for you to discover what this next phase of your life can be. Now's the time to think about the things you enjoy (or might enjoy) and actively seek them out. That could be volunteering, some sort of sport or physical activity, a club or a number of other hobbies, which by pursuing you can surround yourself with like-minded people.

There is also an organization called SAGE, dedicated to the needs of older/mature LGBT people. Some wonderful people (staff, volunteers and supporters alike) go through their doors physical and virtual doors. You should give them a try.

Also, take it easy on yourself! Your life was what it was and now is what it is. You can't control what you've done (or didn't do) in the past. Be kind to yourself and let it go. What's important is your outlook for the future. You may have aged out of the "scene," but you haven't aged out of this gay world. And you won't until, like Disco Dottie, you take your last breath. What you have to decide now is what your new dance floor is going to be.

Image © Jack Star/PhotoLink/Getty.
Comments
April 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm
(1) Gerard Koskovich says:

Another great place to learn more about LGBT midlife and old age is the LGBT Aging Resources Clearinghouse of the American Society on Aging. The clearinghouse offers more than 450 annotated links to relevant resources, including organizational websites, online communities and discussions, articles and reports, as well as DVD and book suggestions. Visit http://www.asaging.org/larc.

April 15, 2009 at 2:45 pm
(2) Dr. Paul Landerman says:

Dear Ramon:
It is with deep pain that I have read your blog: the fact of being gay and mature and passed over by a glittering young narcissistic crowd of body-conscious gym-dwellers (not an epithet) continues to divide our already sycophantic world. I have numerous times been dealt with as if I were invisible by shopkeepers, cashiers, retail workers, and others who see only the grey hair and then the beautiful young man next to me, my date or boyfriend or partner or my ex who is now my best friend. It happens too frequently to mention- we were at Starbucks just the other day and as I was paying the bill, the cashier, approximately my age (50) said “Daddy-Son date shopping today?” To his credit, my date said “well sometimes he makes me call him Daddy but only if I have been bad”.
Here is the point: we are all at various stages of development, usually having nothing to do with chronology or age, but always having to do with self-acceptance, self-awareness, and self-valuing. Having come out at age 49 after a long marriage, emerging into a gay world that is once in a while as frightening and hostile as the heterosexual world, was shocking. I have adjusted, and have tried to learn to be at peace with myself and not worry about the opinions of the twink standing at the end of the bar who is rubbing together the $3 he has left in his pocket, oozing fear, and wondering what he has to compromise in order to get a drink and a ride home at the end of the night.

April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(3) D.bARR says:

Excellent analysis. We all have to accept the reality that life goes on…and so should we. I enjoy getting older. That means some of the mistakes I’ve made are even further behind me….LOL

April 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(4) JOHN FROM CINCINNATI says:

Sounds like the problem isn’t so much aging, but narcissism. Narcissism is rampant in our society, and doesn’t just change with age. Some of the most virulent narcissists (e.g. Madonna) have little changed their tune as they age. There are other things besides circuit parties and the gym; you have to be willing to put in some effort. For those sad men who can’t find emotional support by surrounding themselves with narcissists remember its a bit like going to the hardware store for bread – they just aren’t capable of it.

October 24, 2013 at 6:40 am
(5) Dennis B says:

I know exactly what you say Rob, and feel how you feel. I am 49 and still hold my youth in the body and looks. I love to dance and am very good at it. I have, and put more energy into than a person in there young 20′s. When i go too the Gay Dance Clubs no one ask me to dance nor comment on my dancing with the exception of the straight girls that go w/ there gay friend (s). When I go to the straight clubs and dance i get flocked with 21 year old women that are model material that want to dance with me. Alot of times i ask them, or they will just burst out and say; I want to dance w/ you because you got the looks, and can actually dance very well. Crazy! Seems most gays are envious and or can me viscous it be I or someone else that have the looks or talents. it kills them to even turn there heads, and take a second look. It’s crazy. ..I’m basically down to earth and enjoy dining along with exploring natures beauty, art projects, fast motors, and or anything with wheels under it besides a wheel chair lol. I believe I’m going to enjoy this site. My friend Mary j just introduced it to me. Best Wishes for you and all alike!

November 14, 2013 at 8:00 am
(6) Michael says:

The heterosexual community has no idea what gay people actually face. Gays are bombarded with images of young men with beautiful bodies and faces. I could never in my 50 years have ever identified with the gay community. Of course I went out to the bars and hooked up with tricks like everyone else, but that was the “normal” thing to do when I was in my 20`s. I tired to form lasting relationships, but in the young gay world, that was very difficult. I always fell hard and fast, only to be left standing alone a few weeks or months later wondering what went wrong. The gay community is too focused on casual sex, superficiality and obsession with looks.
I can`t say I didn`t have fun. But now, at age 50, I`m alone and miserable. I was also superficial when I was young. I was built well, and never had a shortage of stares and winks in the bars. But as you age, your values change and suddenly, you want more than just casual sex, you want meaning in your life and substance, but it`s hard to find now. The young guys don`t want me ( too old ) and the guys my age I`m not really attracted to. There are nights I cry myself to sleep now because I feel I wasted so much precious time. I never thought of getting old, it just crept up on me and BAM ! It`s not an easy life. Now I crave the intimacy that I passed up when I was younger.
People say ” life is what you make it “. Well, maybe so, although in a culture where youth and beauty is paramount, it just plain sucks when you`re old, gay and alone. I feel sorry for the gay youth of today because they have no idea what lies ahead. I see so many hooking up on internet hookup sites and boom, a guy will be at their door in 30 minutes. They are not focusing on the future ( like me ), and as the years pass, they will find themselves in my same predicament.

December 18, 2013 at 7:51 am
(7) Sheridan says:

Ok I’m 56, I was in a relationship from 25-42, after which i was pretty pissed off as my partner told me he needed to be with someone younger, which is ok, you can tell your partner you will lose wight, not leave dirty socks around the house, that kind of thing, but you can’t promise to be younger!!!

So we split up and i have been single for 14 years, yes its lonely, I don’t have Kids or Grandkids, but then I realised how much more pissed off would i have ben to spend $$$$$ on bringing up kids to just fly the coup and build a life in another City or state?

I realise i really have only myself to rely on I don’t want to live Tooooo long

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