Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Older examples...


The average age of this blogging community is probably in the mid 20s, I would guess. There are some younger and a few of us older. Of "us" older bloggers, there are examples of various paths that have been chosen, taken, lived - that reflect a variety of expressions of what it means to be gay AND Mormon (whether culturally, spiritually, religiously or otherwise). These examples are out there for the 20-somethings and younger generation to look at and see as models of what "not to do" or as models of "that could work for me", etc.

I don't pretend to be a model for anyone - this isn't my point. What I'm getting at is: I don't see examples of gay married Mormon men who are twenty or thirty years older than me, that I can look to as models of what "not to do" or as models of "that could work for me", etc. I just see a void, an unknown... a path that I'm sure others like me have trodden, but they haven't expressed in any open fashion what they learned and went through along the way. They are silent. This generation before me did not and does not talk about what is discussed in this blogging community. And for the most part, they don't blog. And maybe that's a good thing...

But I long to hear stories and examples and experiences of older men who are still happily married after 50 years, who have remained faithful to the Church and devoted to their wives, and who are completely and undoubtedly GAY to the core through it all. Or, I want to hear stories and examples and experiences of older men who finally decided they couldn't make it - it isn't possible - there is no hope and they've gone off into the sunset in other paths. Do such men in either case exist?

The youngin's of this community have a ton of compatriots to pull from. There is a shared openness and community. And undoubtedly, the generation to come (both in and out of the Church) will have an even more inviting community in which to be engaged. The society at large has allowed for them to pull together and be together and discuss more openly "their issues". And, they have examples of those a generation ahead of them who struggled and are struggling through a much more closed society and lack of openness that have allowed some to inadvertently or unconscientiously "delay" their outing and openness.


But, just as I exist, there must be others ahead of me that exist. But where?


For the most part, I find images of older gay men revolting! I find the thought of images of me becoming an older gay man revolting! The media doesn't show this, for the most part - thank goodness - as the images of young 20-somethings frolicking on the beach together are much more pleasing to the eye... but that's beside the point...

Especially in the Church, is there a gay faithful Mormon man married 50 years that has done it? Is it possible to hold on? Does it get easier with time? Or do we all eventually get divorced, commit suicide, or otherwise disappear as a dying breed?
I'd be interested in the "youngin's" perspective, because believe it or not, you'll all be there someday..... (SCREAM!!!!!!) :)

25 comments:

Foxx said...

Have you looked into the Gamofites? I'm sure that among them there are old-timer gays who are still Mormon and married. I found one on their website: http://www.gamofites.org/stories/markevan.htm

The other stories on the site look like they have divorced, but among Gay Mormon Fathers, how can there not be some who choose to stay with their wives?

I think we don't hear their voices because they've been through the angst and the fear that contributed to our starting a blog when that outlet wasn't available. Perhaps now they have just decided to stop lingering on the contradiction and start living their lives. Who knows?

Mormon Enigma said...

I belong to the gamofitenews discussion group. I'm not aware of guys older than me who are still married. I don't know if this proves anything other than if there are such guys in Gamofites then they aren't active in the discussion group.

Maybe I should post to gamofitenews and ask. Sort of a olly olly oxen free.

Beck said...

FOXX: You're probably right... I'm behind the curve and so I'm "delayed" and most folks my age are over the angst and have moved on with their lives! In other words: "BECK, GET OVER IT!"

Beck said...

M.E.:

I don't want you to round them up... It was more a rhetorical question than anything else. It's just interesting to note that "they" seem to just disappear.

And to think that you're the oldest gay bugger around still married? What's wrong with you!?! :)

Mormon Enigma said...

...you're the oldest gay bugger...

Gee, thanks. Just remember, you're only a couple of years behind me. :-)

Mormon Enigma said...

Uh, Am I really the oldest Gay Mormon who is still married (at least in the queerosphere)? That's really depressing. I think I need to go find some chocolate to eat.

Beck said...

M.E.: You can come over to my place and we can share my chocolate Easter bunny. I think I still have an ear left... :)

But, seriously, don't you find it odd that "they" aren't around or they most definitely aren't married and interested in this type of concern anymore? I mean, what's wrong with us? Are we that dense? (And yes, even though you are generations older than myself, I use the collective "we" here!)

-L- said...

I saw this daytime court TV show not long ago that had an older gay couple suing their young gay tenants. The old gays gave me the creeps. Sorry to all those theoretical nice old gay men who are not so creepy, but, yeah, we need some alternative examples!

Beck said...

-L-:

I couldn't agree more! That's my whole point. I get creeped out just thinking about older gay men... Why is that? Younger gay men don't creep me out at all - in fact they're a major attraction!

So, where are the alternate examples? Why do they disappear? Do they exist? Why are young gays cool and older gays creepy?

Inquisitive minds want to know...

mark said...

I wonder if part of the apparent invisibility of that generation of married gay men has anything to do with AIDS. A lot of gay men who came of age in the late 60s and 70s, and who would now be in their 50s and pushing 60, died in the first wave of AIDS during the mid and late 80s.

Mormon Enigma said...

I wonder if part of the apparent invisibility of that generation of married gay men has anything to do with AIDS

That's an interesting theory. But, if we're talking about older gay guys who have remained happily married for 50 years, might they also be gay celibate and remained in a monogamous relationship with their wife? I am.

Beck
generations older than you humph!

But, yes I agree that it is very odd indeed that there appears to be nobody ahead of us paving the way. I don't want to be a pioneer, I want to be a follower on a well traveled path with all of the potholes well marked.

playasinmar said...

I wonder how much scarier it would have been for Christopher Columbus to set sail if all the previous expeditions had vanished without a trace?

Cheer up! I'm sure your distant shore does exist. Please don't wipe out the indigenous people when you get there.

Samantha said...

I know this is not really what you're talking about--but I'm not known to keep my mouth shut when I have something to say.

Most of the lesbian couples with whom I am friends are around 15 years (or more) older than I. They don't creep me out--they just seem kind of sweet. I'm not sure why I feel that way about them. Single older lesbians on the prowl, however, give me the jibblies (thanks for the new word, AtP). I don't know of very many MOM older than mine with a female SSA member, so I can't comment on that. I do know that 20 years from now, I'll still be in mine.

Elbow said...

I freakin' love this post! It's a little scary to think about. And by the way...YOU'RE NOT OLD, just wise and brilliant!

santorio said...

i'm near 60, married at 25. and no i don't look like those guys in the picture--i'm down to 165 now ; )

Beck said...

Playasinmar: HaHaHa! Even though Columbus didn't know his distant shore was there, he believed it was. I believe mine is there as well... it'd just be nice to catch a glimpse of someone who's done it before me! And not like the guys in the photo...

Beck said...

SAMANTHA: You are my champion and shining star! I know you and Darrin are going to make it! Thanks for both of you being there "showing the way".

Beck said...

ELBOW: It is way scary to think about! It's completely freaky! I can't get over the creepy factor and I don't know why that is when I feel just the opposite about young gay guys... Do you know what I mean? I think there is a bit of consensus here...

By the way, I'm neither young nor brilliant. If I were, I probably wouldn't be blogging... I'm slowly becoming an old fart (though kickin' and screamin' the whole way) and so will you! :)

Beck said...

SANTORIO: You take the cake! As far as I can tell, you've beaten M.E. for being ahead of the game and still at it! Keep going and keep trodding on that path ahead of us! :)

Beck said...

MARK: I didn't mean to skip you! Your point is well taken and AIDS does play into the answer, I'm sure. But the real question, as M.E. points out, is where are the FAITHFUL GAY MARRIED MORMON GUYS that if they really were faithful believing guys wouldn't have died from AIDS.

I have a dear personal and monumentally significant friend (who I've posted about or alluded to several times) who did die of AIDS in the 80s... Unfortunately, he did so as self-inflicted punishment for not being able to measure up to the expectations of a "faithful gay and married Mormon".

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

I think creepiness is a case by case issue. Some of the older guys I've seen are indeed creepy, but some of them are not. It's when an older guy is trying to be disguise his old age, get a young guy, and be completely "fabulous" all at the same time that things get creepy. Anyway, it's an interesting thought. I bet if you were to grow old with someone and love them, seeing them as creepy might be difficult.
-Caspian
PS: L, what are you doing wasting your time with stupid court TV shows? C'mmon, you are too brilliant!
:-P

mark said...

Well, as for where are the gay Mormon men who married women, I imagine that they exist (in fact I know one who is in his late 50s and has been married for about 30 years) but again you have to think about the kind of world they have grown up in. A man who is 60 this year was born in 1946. He would have married in the late 60s, maybe the early 70s, probably before Stonewall, before the APA took homosexuality the list of psychiatric illnesses, during the era of Ernest L Wilkinson's spy network and then the electroshock treatments at BYU. A time when about the only General Authority who much mentioned homosexuality was Spencer W Kimball. In other words, it was a time when a gay man in the church would have been closeted in a way we probably can't imagine now. And they may have got so good at being closeted that they have simply suppressed their whole lives and have never really allowed themselves the luxury even of thinking the "what if" types of questions about what life could have been or could be if they came out of the closet. When there are no alternatives for so long, when the alternatives suddenly appear it doesn't mean that you immediately jump to them; many people never can get beyond the previous limited-alternative worldview. Sort of like what happened in America when slavery ended...it did not mean that all African Americans suddenly jumped on their new freedom; some had a tendency to want to stay in the security of old patterns of life. Same thing happened when the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and Russia ended...freedom came, but for many the old security of the total state was hard to let go and remains so even today, over 15 years later.

santorio said...

mark:

indeed it was a different time. we just didn't go around asking, am i gay? we didn't have the vocabulary, the knowledge, the freedom, the A&F ads.

Beck said...

D.P. Your comments make me laugh... you remind me of my wife who gets freaked out when she sees an older guy who obviously dyes his hair. "YUK, he looks like a corpse!"

Though I'd like to think that I'm younger than I am, my wife will be sure to keep me from becoming "one of those guys". :)

Beck said...

MARK and SANTORIO: I appreciate your remarks and reflection on how things have changed! I do realize the changes though, thank heavens, I post-date the shock-therapy horror stories of BYU in the 70s! In my openly touchy-feely manner of expression and relationship with guys when at BYU in the 80s, I never was turned in, questioned, or viewed (to my knowledge) as being a violation of the Honor Code by the touchy-feely police!

That having been said, much has changed, attitudes are different, and your point of the slave seeking freedeom, or the East European desiring the scariness of the open West is a good one. Maybe, for the most part, they've allowed it to pass them by and aren't about to give voice to something that (remaining faithful, married, Mormon, and yet gay) for this long they've allowed to let lie.

But, that's a shame. I still would like to know their story, and learn from their example.

It makes the "voices" of this community all the more necessary for the future. Maybe I'm putting too much importance on these silly blogs, I don't know.

But I say thanks to all your "voices".