It's no longer a shock to hear of an openly gay 13-year-old or about two 16-year-olds in a gay relationship. Even tours around gay bars reveal floods of younger gay men seeking love and sex from their peers. Rarely, however, do we discuss our lives after the club lights come on and the dancing shoes are laid to rest. This signals the end for some, but to others lifestyle adjustments are a part of maturing.
So, if gays don't find lifelong partners in their youth, is the love dance truly over? The pressures of heterosexual norms do not lessen when one seeks same-sex companionship. Fears of loneliness become precursors to perceptions that gay men "age out" of the scene (if you can call it such), after which they become undesirable with futures void of companionship. Some say this fear of aging also bring about a perpetual search for a gay "fountain of youth."
According to the Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center:
- Nearly 20% of gay seniors have no one to care for them should they become ill, versus 2% for heterosexual seniors.
- 2/3 of gay seniors live alone versus 1/3 of heterosexual seniors.
Despite the gloom of these statistics, gay life does not come with an expiration date, nor is there one model (as with heterocentric views) to be followed. Gay youth is just that: Youth. Likewise, maturing is a part of life as well. It's up to the individual, regardless of sexual orientation, to determine how they will grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally outside of perceived views of desirability. The "community" does not hold the clock, each individual interprets their own timers.
Resources for Older/Mature Gay Men
To combat these growing statistics, many gay community centers are launching programs and social groups for older gay men. Community-focused organizations, like SAGE, also provide support and programming for older/mature lgbt people.
Gay Life forum member Morris47 says: "Well I just would like to open a discussion about being gay, feeling ok, and aging all right. What's the matter with that? Why do gay partners tend to look at themselves as if they were never going to get old? Why do old gay fellows accept that as something natural? Why do we have to show and keep a certain kind of body adjusted to rules that are absolutely not natural?" Join the discussion