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A Poll - How 'connected' do you feel to the "LGBTQ+ Community"?


EastCoastBtm
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Not Connected at All

Why not?

As I am now firmly considered 'middle aged' (48yo - the gay elderly years), I look at things like Instagram and the 'gay press' and feel no connection to being gay anymore.  Gay bars and clubs, if even still in business, have lost their appeal.  Dating at this age, mostly feels a competition for consolation prizes.  Where do we derive our 'gay identity' from anymore?  I feel adrift. 

Part of me feels like it is too late.  I always felt ostracized by the 'mean girl body fascists' in the large cities I lived in my gay youth - DC, Philly, SF, NYC.  Looking down the road to my 50s, 60s, and hopefully 70s, I have a sense of fear and dread being alone or relying on my straight relatives for companionship.  

I'm coming off of a COVID 16 months of living with Mom in rural NC and its been wonderful connecting as an adult with her, but my return to the city looms.  For the first time in my life, I'm moving to the far suburbs to give something new a try.  It will be likely be harder to find other gay men, but I will give it my best try.  

I've read so many news stories about the epidemic of gay loneliness especially for gay Gen X men.  I apologize for the melancholia here, but just searching for like souls.  This forum is one of the few places, albeit small, where I find some connection still. 

 

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I have sort of aged out of the "gay community," but I am maintaining my membership card, because I worked hard to earn it, and I still drop into the social center at times. It's sort of like my membership in my college alumni association: I make regular donations and read the publications, but I rarely attend events anymore.

Edited by Charlie
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Not connected at all.  The Q, T, I, A, + activists of this 'alphabet soup' have appropriated the group for their mission.  Their tactics have created divisiveness and resentment within our community and brought criticism from those outside of it. They've done everything but practice the philosophy of inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance, such as when they banned gay LEO groups from marching in pride parades.  Gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, especially those in their mid to senior years, are the people who fought to get us where we are today and they've been relegated to the back of the gay bus.      

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My honest assessment is that I was most connected to the community in the 80’s as we were losing people left and right, and needed to lean on each other. It was concurrent with my own coming out and like many others at the time we got to know the excitement of exploring love and sex in a minefield.  “Somewhat connected to the community”would apply in the years following, after finding my partner (we both were in industries where neither of us was the token) and overall, less so in the last twenty years as the boomers turning to seniors. What binds us still is to recall the memories of the indignities suffered in school, the kinds of choices available to me in bridging all the elements of family, work, and community, just as young people are today. Together we are a unifying force of self acceptance that we all know to varying degrees. Some of us see it distantly in the rear view, where it serves as a reminder going forward with eyes front.
 

I like to think of myself as “Gaymeritus” An honorary nod that I helped when I could, but needed to tend career and home as I escaped to the suburbs, and continued to promote visibility, and help those individuals still being plowed under by a disease the President at the time chose  to ignore.
 

My curious nature keeps me looking for what young people and “new gays” are up to, and the impressive range of activism is so much broader, connected to their direct experience, and approached in more current ways, using universal advantages of our digital comms systems and finding new ways of engaging. Bravo to their fearlessness in tackling new challenges (bigger and more urgent than marriage) and I’m excited to see how they continue to push for the idea of equality and fairness for all, not just fellow queer people. 

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Somewhat Connected

The main connections I feel are

  1. self-identification as gay
  2. a sense of affinity with others who self-identify as gay
  3. the experience of a decades-long fight for equal rights
  4. living through and surviving the AIDS crisis

The "community" I knew as a young man I think no longer exists.  

Bars are much fewer in number and are not the center of gay culture as they were.

The "ghettos" are shadows of their former selves - both in terms of quantity (of ppl) and uniqueness of the culture

As society has become more accepting of gays (which is a good thing) we have also become more homogenous, more integrated with mainstream culture.  The energy and exclusivity (that "secret society") that used to exist in gay culture is diminished. 

So much has moved online....where we are largely namess and faceless (like here!).

Of course, age is a factor.....I no longer need the affirmation of being with gay people and immersed in gayness all day every day.

I lived in the ghettos, and spent lots of time in the bars and clubs.  I enjoyed every minute and would not change a thing. 

Edited by JEC
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No wonder gay men fear getting older more then the rest of the population. I used to see older gay guys out in Weho at the clubs and feel so sad for them. They just looked so lonely and sad. So yeah, that became my biggest fear. Loss of identity and no longer being welcome in the community. Sex and sexuality is a big part of our identity and the community was built on that for better or worse. Bars, clubs, circuit parties, and many other gay stuff. Anyone who doesn't fit in will be excluded. Age is a big factor in that of course. Unless you're a celebrity or it's your house that they're using.  

I went out recently to Weho on Saturday night. In the past I remember getting so excited by the prospects of who I was going to meet and maybe hook up with.  Except this time all I could feel was that it's too late and I'm tired. Ha. Clearly I've aged out of that. 

As time goes by I've lost interest in all that juvenile stuff. Well, sometimes I'll go out to a bars once in a while. Friends and family are my community and identity now. It's still weird though since I spent such a big part of my life escaping family for the glitz and glammer. I don't even recognize the club kid that I once was. 

 

 

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For me it waxes and wanes. Never "very connected" and never "not connected at all",
but usually drifting in between. And like most of the men replying here I’m talking about 
the “G” part. The rest of the alphabet is an incidental, albeit hostile, takeover in my book. 

In my everyday life, it’s a very small part of my identity. Nonetheless, I fought hard to survive 
and tried to pave the way for today’s little punk faggots as best I could. I’m proud of that. 
What they choose to do with it is their business. The fact that they get to choose is enough
for me. 

Edited by nycman
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Even when I was in the gay phase, I was a fat femme who adopted a drag queen persona. So I wasn't being me, just played a character. Otherwise I didn't have a great body, average face and so this gave me courage to belong. I was a shy kid from a small town.  Even when I was conencted-I wasn't being myself, just a persona-so almost an image I created connected to the community.

 

But that got tired soon and luckily ended up with kids and my own family-thanks to science.  Now more in the burbs, family, suburban moms as friends. Really not connected-except the odd escort/massage.  

I guess when I think of community-maybe we view gorgeous adonis dancing all night away with perfect bodies. So people like me don't fit.  I think lesbians seem to have a far more inclusive community. We all grow old, sick, fat, lose jobs -so a community purely based on looks or youth will fracture. With kids, I had to reconnect with family -Thank God for that- like I have come full circle, but this time am out. I do wish I had more gay members of different types around me though and part of my circle.

 

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One week in April I feel very connected.   Every other week, not connected at all except through here and my political leanings.  I am not very active politically so that is not really a link.  

So thanks for that one week a year Oliver.  It is fun to feel up a guy in a parking lot as onlookers gawk.  It is great to have a chubby chaser hit on me when I am buying a t Shirt.  It is marvelous to walk around and breath absolutely freely without an iota of self immolation.   It is great to get laid regularly even if I am paying for it.  It is a wonder to laugh and lust and gab and giggle with like minded men.   So 2% connected and  98% unconnected.

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1 hour ago, BonVivant said:

What if I started a GenX Gay Meetup Grouo? Do you think folks would be interested? I think a lot of gay Gen Xers need connections and opportunities to meet up. It would be focused on culture, art, dinners, music, dancing and night outs. Instead of being alone at a gay bar a group of Gen X gays would be a presence. 

Where are you?  I'm about to move to the semi-far suburbs of Philadelphia after a year plus with Mom in rural NC.   I'm really going to have to try hard to connect with any gay people.

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On 7/27/2021 at 6:44 AM, EastCoastBtm said:

Not Connected at All

When you are truly bisexual and not just afraid to say the word: "gay" ...you will find yourself dismissed by the gay community. So this happy LGBTWTF...etc group of letters is a fantasy. Gay people are intimidated by actual bisexuals. The fact that a human being can and does actively make a CHOICE in who they sleep with undermines the whole "born this way" narrative. You end up suspect and often derided. So how any bisexual actually feels connected to this group of letters mystifies me. 

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1 hour ago, pubic_assistance said:

When you are truly bisexual and not just afraid to say the word: "gay" ...you will find yourself dismissed by the gay community. So this happy LGBTWTF...etc group of letters is a fantasy. Gay people are intimidated by actual bisexuals. The fact that a human being can and does actively make a CHOICE in who they sleep with undermines the whole "born this way" narrative. You end up suspect and often derided. So how any bisexual actually feels connected to this group of letters mystifies me. 

I have a different take on that.  I truly believe that being straight, gay, or bisexual is a genetic trait.  I identify as gay.  I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be gay.  I think the same is true for heterosexuals and bisexuals. Bisexuals may choose which gender to sleep with at any given moment, but I think their  attraction to both sexes is as genetically based as mine to men.  
 

With that said, I agree with your comments about bisexuals being unfairly treated with derision and sometimes ridicule.  If we’re expected to accept everyone’s choice of their gender fluidity on any given day, we should accept that some people are naturally attracted to both sexes without question.

Edited by RJD
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2 hours ago, pubic_assistance said:

When you are truly bisexual and not just afraid to say the word: "gay" ...you will find yourself dismissed by the gay community. So this happy LGBTWTF...etc group of letters is a fantasy. Gay people are intimidated by actual bisexuals. The fact that a human being can and does actively make a CHOICE in who they sleep with undermines the whole "born this way" narrative. You end up suspect and often derided. So how any bisexual actually feels connected to this group of letters mystifies me. 

In my experience most bisexuals are actually just gay men afraid to identify as gay. Hell I was bisexual till I finally got honest with myself. Then there's the trust issues. Hard for them to stay monogamous.  Whoever there with will never be enough for them. Most I know end up in straight relationships as cover. Rarely do they do gay relationships. 

I have no issues with them but I can also see the animosity. 

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10 hours ago, pubic_assistance said:

When you are truly bisexual and not just afraid to say the word: "gay" ...you will find yourself dismissed by the gay community. So this happy LGBTWTF...etc group of letters is a fantasy. Gay people are intimidated by actual bisexuals. The fact that a human being can and does actively make a CHOICE in who they sleep with undermines the whole "born this way" narrative. You end up suspect and often derided. So how any bisexual actually feels connected to this group of letters mystifies me. 

Don't make broad generalizations about 'all gay people' or you are just perpetuating the same problem but in reverse.

I came out at 20yo and didn't meet many bisexuals.  It took time and experience and meeting people to gain a greater appreciation for the full spectrum of humanity sexuality. 

We older gay and bisexual men may be frustrated with the alphabet soup of the modern sexual spectrum, but it is just a continuation to change society to accept that sexuality and gender go far beyond the binary definitions foisted on humankind by cis gender, straight white men.  Show some compassion and empathy.  The fact that you are here shows you are a thoughtful human.

Even this dialogue makes me question myself... Am I looking for a gay community or for a community of the like-minded?  I gave up Catholicism for lent one year and never went back.... A joke, but it did leave a void.  Maybe I should explore secular humanism instead of the LGBTQ community. 

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12 hours ago, EastCoastBtm said:

Where are you?  I'm about to move to the semi-far suburbs of Philadelphia after a year plus with Mom in rural NC.   I'm really going to have to try hard to connect with any gay people.

I’m in NYC. I will DM you. 

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10 hours ago, Jaker27 said:

In my experience most bisexuals are actually just gay men afraid to identify as gay

Proving my point.

You gays all have the same lack of respect.

You have your parades and webpages and PRETEND to be inclusive but in fact you are bigger bigots than heterosexual people are. I have more straight friends who accept my lifestyle than gay ones .

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