There are a number of problems in gay society, there’s also a number of roots that cause them. Trying to figure them all out and solve them would be like curing Cancer; but we could improve things just by adjusting the way we look at other gay men.
As a (reasonably) young gay man, I can vouch that my generation was not taught much – or anything – about gay history. I just popped out the cervix drowsed in glitter in a pair of pum-pum shorts and never even considered what a hardship it was for other people. I never learned how difficult it was for the older generation to come out in a time when homosexuality was taboo, or how the Pride marches paved the way for future gay men to mince down the street without getting abuse hurled at them. (Of course, this still happens in some places, I understand that not everywhere is as evolved as parts of London – but we’re talking retrospectively).
And I’m sure I’m not the only one; loads of young people can’t imagine a life where you can’t be who want to – or even have to dress a certain way. Because the world wasn’t always as accepting; people made it that way. And perhaps this lack of LGBT education, is why Pride has gradually evolved into something different. It was about a minority group fighting oppression, not an annual excuse to get as messy as possible. That’s not to say we shouldn’t celebrate, trust me babes, I’m the first one in a ridiculous outfit sandwiched between Fanny Batter the tranny and an over-plucked chicken on a float in Gran Canaria, but we should also use the day as a reminder that we couldn’t do that without the older generation. That they bore a lot of strife, to give us an easier way of living.
It’s a legacy that should be honoured, and we should be demonstrating our gratitude through respect, not exorcising ageism against our gay family. Because it doesn’t matter how much botox you have, or how deeply you conform to the Peter Pan Syndrome, nobody can escape ageing, so one day we’ll be in their shoes.
Add to that lack of awareness, the number of twinks that believe every older guy is a dirty perv that wants to fuck them – and we can see why perhaps there’s such a large divide. We become so set in our ways that we don’t stop to think about things from other people’s perception. It’s as if there’s an air of animosity between us, like when you don’t know somebody well enough to have made up your mind about them. Well, that’s possibly how some of the older generation feel when they see the kids of today treating Pride like a drug-fuelled fuckfest. Like, bitch I suffered true prejudice, helped ensure you could be honest about who you love, and you’re collapsing on a podium at Mantrix? You might as well wait a couple more years ’til they die and spit on their graves.
Respecting your elders should come naturally anyway, so is it possibly time to stop turning our noses up at our elder gay brothers just because we don’t wanna shag them?
Although, that’s not to say these old men are all innocent and frail; bitch, please – far from it. Plenty of them are still telling themselves they’re as young as they feel while they dole out the 1.5’s at Circuit festival. While others are lingering around the Comptons’ urinals, eyes engorged gawking your genitals. So, there are indeed some circumstances where, yes, they do just want to fuck you.
So yes, the older generation are owed respect, but so are the younger generation too. There are lots of older men that initiate unprotected sex with younger boys. Do you know how many men I hear about trying to slip it in without a condom, I’m like hold on, didn’t half your friends die of AIDs? Babe, you should know better. And I’ve experienced it too, even as a teenager.
Where is the sense of responsibility? Young gay men are confused enough with finding themselves, fighting addictions and whatever other personal stresses they have – what they may need is a bit of guidance; not another man inside them.
We’re supposed to be gay brothers, having each other’s back. Not having each other bareback. And as older gay men they should be watching out for today’s youth, not encouraging them to make mistakes. Just as younger guys should bare in mind that we will be older one day, and expect the respect we deserve, older guys should remember that they were young and impressionable once too.
We all know about them older, wealthy guys that throw sex parties at their costly homes and lure tight-torso’d twinks with an endless supply of drugs and the potential of hooking up with other tight-torso’d twinks that had be seduced under the same pretences. How thinly veiled that facade seems when you’re sitting in Mortimer clinic on a Monday afternoon because you did something stupid. And yes, everybody is responsible for their own actions, but when you hear more and more stories about young guys contracting HIV, you have to question who are these men that are having unprotected sex with them, knowing there’s a possibility of passing it on. Not only that, but men like that are only feeding unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles.
Perhaps if older gay men weren’t made to feel obsolete once they hit 40, we would have a better sense of community. Or if young men weren’t looked at as nothing more than objects of sexual gratification, they wouldn’t have as many relationship issues. While this lack of respect on both sides remains, we’ll continue to have problems that could have potentially be prevented; the Peter Pan syndrome, HIV transmission, the perpetuation of casual sex.