This article was published on January 4th, 2020
In case it needed to be said: respect your gay elders. The LGBT older adult population represents one of the fastest-growing subpopulations within our aging society. This is the generation that survived the AIDS crisis, went to Vietnam, started and propelled the modern gay rights movement, and are alive to tell the tales. Supporting the aging LGBT senior population means more than just sharing their lives and experiences. It means giving senior gay men the respect they deserve.
Baby boomers are the biggest generation ever, and the queer population from that generation is aging with just as much grace—or more—as their hetero counterparts. However, LGBT people in some areas like rural communities have less access to the same care as straight folks.
Sure, there have been times you or your friends might have judged an older gay man sugar daddy type in bars hitting on much younger twinks. But there will come a time when everyone of us gets older too, and everyone wants to connect with people. You don’t know his story any more than you know another stranger’s story.
It’s time to let go of these previous judgements and start helping the generation that did so much and has been through a lot. Lead by the example that our queer elders set for us. Volunteer at your local LGBT center or senior center. There are gay senior centers in the bigger cities around the world. Get involved with your local queer community. Vote like your rights and quality of life depend on it! Stop being a hater and begin being an acceptor and respect the older generation. And finally: put down your smart phones and have a real conversation with our LGBT seniors. If you really listen, you’ll be enriched with the stories and histories of times before you arrived on this earth.
As the generation that gave us the equality we often take for granted today gets older, they’re going to need our help in passing the torch to our generation to lead the way. Embrace your queer seniors as they have embraced you. Everyone will be better for it in the end.