Newport Beach, California
I just turned 60. For someone who came out in the free-spirited days of disco, I was the youngest of the group, the cute boy (and former dancer) who all the older men found attractive. Yet, when I was 30 I couldn’t imagine being with a 60-year old fart; the man with thinning hair and a few extra pounds around his middle. But, now I understand. And I’m appreciating the joys of being what I most feared of becoming. Because, you see, we’re at a momentous point in history.
As an older and grayer gay man, I remember the hatred of Anita Bryant, the California Briggs Initiative, Harvey Milk’s assignation, and of course, living in West Hollywood and San Francisco during the height of the epidemic. In fact, when I did my doctoral dissertation in the 1993 (has it really been 20 years?!) I was deeply proud of how my tribe had mobilized to become politically active and caring for our own. Fast forward 20 years and who could ever have imagined the words gay and marriage being in the same sentence, let alone on the front page of the daily newspaper.
That’s why everyday I think about the many friends who will never have the chance to turn 60. Every morning I embrace the thrill of being alive, the joy of being a passionate, creative, sexual, community elder and being with other gay men as we co-create entirely new ways of loving and living. Our tribe has always been pioneers and we now have the opportunity to once again re-imagine our futures, bearing witness to younger men just now coming out, appreciating the beauty of all men regardless of age, waist size or hair.
I’ve come to realize growing older is a gift, a continued journey of self-discovery, exploring new adventures. And even telling the truth about my age on Match.com.