Thursday, July 30, 2015
Gay of A Certain Age - The Lost Language of the Gays
Ahhh, Throwback Thursday...
Here's a pic of me, probably about 10 years ago, at work, teaching some kids a thing or none about the Department of Transportation in the City of West Hollywood. I'm faking it, because I'm not really into kids; they're typically a lot of drama and attention seekers. I'd prefer that to come from me. Now, as a Gay of A Certain Age, I look at the gay youth today and I judge with happy abandon. I reel at the fact that many of them don't know about Stonewall, that they've never heard of the Village People or Armistead Maupin, and they've never had to sneak a viewing of FOR LADIES ONLY, because their parents would know they are gay. It's true, I judge them for not knowing important gay history and landmark events. I also find, that in my age, I have softened. I realize that now they have so much media coming to them from every angle, appealing to their specific tastes, that it's almost impossible to expect them to know about Tales of the City or the lyrics to This Charming Man.
They don't know who or what a "friend of Dorothy" is because they've never waited an entire year to see The Wizard of Oz on T.V. and they've probably never had to use a secret language.
Maybe a large number of them have never had to be in the closet at all. That's great and all, but I kind of miss figuring someone out by their taste in music, movies and books. That little bit of mystery was almost always as delicious as it was frustrating. There was a little intrigue in sneaking around to bars or bookstores- the only places you be guaranteed to find "like lusted" folks like your gay self. How about that wonderful horror of running into someone you didn't expect to be gay, or someone you didn't want to know you were gay, followed by that delightful awkwardness? How about the ones you always ran into at beer bust, whom you wouldn't accept as gay because they were annoying and you never approved their application for Gayhood? A good times!
We've made great strides in the time that I've been gay and I've seen many dark times turn into rainbow fabulous days; gay marriage, gays openly serving in the military, a musical T.V. show featuring a multitude of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender characters that takes place in a high school, pink M&Ms! While I would never trade all these great things for anything, I do miss those little quirks and traps of being a cautious gay. I wonder how younger gays will identify with each other now that they aren't forced to be corralled in ghettos and gay bars, or secret places? What will bind them together if not the fear of being discovered or the misery of losing so many friends to a disease or fighting the government to receive basic human rights? It'll be interesting to see how the the gay world evolves. I know we aren't completely out of the woods, so I hope the new gays go for a few more tumbles in the brambles while we're still there. There are still a few more old fashioned bonding opportunities to be had! So, while I've softened my judgement of the young gays, I still will not have a conversation with any gay of any age who doesn't know 9 TO 5!