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Gays, Marriage and Young Love

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I've been noticing a divide for a while now between younger gays who grew up with a bit more freedom and older gays who lived with more discrimination and stigma.

This article in the NY Times seems to be a case in point:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/magazine/27young-t.html

(Note, the article is long, requires you to register and login and will only be available online for about a week)

I'm very interested in what you guys think about a few themes that come up in the article

Are younger gays REALLY that into marriage?

Is monogamy more or less of an issue in gay relationships with younger people?

Is there pressure on young gay guys to get married and stay married?

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I've been noticing a divide for a while now between younger gays who grew up with a bit more freedom and older gays who lived with more discrimination and stigma.

This article in the NY Times seems to be a case in point:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/magazine/27young-t.html

(Note, the article is long, requires you to register and login and will only be available online for about a week)

I'm very interested in what you guys think about a few themes that come up in the article:

Are younger gays REALLY that into marriage?

Doug and I are registered Domestic Partners in California. Neither of us feels any need to get married. Maybe that's a reflection of our ages, 18, younger than the "young" guys in their 20's discussed in this article. Maybe it's because we're in our freshman year in college and that requires a majority amount of our attention. Maybe it's because we can't get married in California. Whatever the reason, we've talked about it and it's not an issue for us.

Is monogamy more or less of an issue in gay relationships with younger people?

The article has this sentence that is the same as how Doug and I feel about monogamy:

There?s an emerging rhetoric around monogamy among young gay couples. In that way, they?re a lot more like married heterosexual couples than they are like older gay couples.
Doug and I think monogamy is an essential part of our relationship and partnership.

Is there pressure on young gay guys to get married and stay married?

Because there's no gay marriage in California, and it's a long way from Massachusetts, the nearest state that allows gay marriage, it's not an issue here. I don't hear gay couples our age who we know talking much about marriage. A lot of the couples our age are thinking about becoming registered Domestic Partners, and some have done so. It's a very easy process for California residents: fill out a simple form, both partners sign it, and mail it to Sacramento with a check for $33.00. In about three weeks you'll have your certificate back. Bingo!

Colin :icon11:

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There is much more than a single issue involved in this topic.

If we divide the era of homosexuality into arbitrary acceptance - unacceptable periods, we end up with a clearer indication of attitudes by gay men of various ages.

Those who lived through the period of homosexuality being a criminal offence and those who came after decriminalisation.

There is of course a middle group who knew both periods of time.

So we can expect at least three different groups of reactions to gay marriage based on when people were born.

As criminal offences were dropped at different times in different countries with some countries still to adopt this human right, we can see various age groups across the spectrum of time at various states of consideration on the topic of gay marriage.

Stonewall itself is an historic moment that has some significance as a moment of liberation.

Yet we can also point to 1960s as an era of much questioning that fed tolerance and and later acceptance on many issues of human rights including sexual expression.

Aside from those however, there are individual reactions to socially imposed requirements for cohabitation to be accepted by that society. What that means is, that the questioning process is continuing.

Finally we can see that we humans are heading towards relationships that are not imposed by society but are simply occurring from the desire to spend one's life with a partner of one's own choosing.

If gay marriage then, is occurring because people want to fit into a social structure then it has as much chance of being meaningful as does entering into a heterosexual marriage based on those social obligations.

Deciding to spend one's life with somebody is no small commitment.

Pressure to do so, to marry, just because everyone else is doing it, is not a satisfactory reason to follow suit.

The social issues then become even more involved if children are part of the marriage arrangement.

These and other considerations are the mere tip of the iceberg of human relationships, occurring in our world where freedom is not yet attained for all persons on the planet.

What is important is that whatever commitment to another person entails, it should happen in an atmosphere of freewill and not not because it is "expected of us."

Having said that, I am quite in favour of arranging one's life so that financial and responsible considerations are in the hands of my nearest and dearest.

I think the younger people are in a position of vulnerability to pressure them into socially acceptable lifestyles, but then again they always have been.

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I tried to read the article but after one too many of Benjamin and Joshua's "So I'm like..."s I just couldn't take any more of the Stepford Gays. I realise this is harsh, cruel, unjustified and judgmental. I'll chant later.

Sebastian and I got married because we wanted to give effect to our commitment to each other for ourselves, our families and to the wider world. It was in some ways a difficult decision because of our age - 19 at the time. We had already discussed how we would make a lifetime commitment but in the past we had seemed to agree to holding that off until after University. Then Sebastian asked me to marry him before University and I said yes. The whole idea of waiting just seemed futile.

Anyway. We got married quite young. None of our parents raised any objection to that. A few of our friends did, in the nicest way. More for our families' sakes than anything else we had a big family wedding which was nice. But it wasn't the point. The point for both of us was making a publicly recognisable commitment. We very specifically chose to get married in Spain (which was complicated) rather than to have a civil union or a pacs in France because we wanted to be married. We would have liked the legal protection (which we don't at the moment get because we live in France where our marriage isn't recognised) but being married was more important. I want to stress that we thought this through very carefully. We forewent the legal protection of a pacs/civil union because we are in a position to. We can afford and have the resources to protect ourselves in most important ways.

Yes we're monogomous. It's never been an issue between us - we had one discussion about it very early on and we were pretty much of one mind. So no playing away.

I think there are generational/historical issues involved definitely. Some significantly older people I know spent a lot of time and energy making lives for themselves in a world where marriage was perhaps not even a remote possibility for lesbian and gay people. Why should they now that they've made that home (metaphorically) for themselves rush to consider marriage? Marriage isn't better than what you can have otherwise - hell it may not even be that different. Marriage is just what I want because I want equality recognition for my family - even if it's only two of us.

There may be issues of marrying for social conformity for some people. I don't really know. I'm inclined to think that unless you are good enough friends, good enough to live in each other's pockets (if not hearts) for the rest of your lives, then it won't work. But I don't actually know anyone who's got married for this reason.

I don't want to bring up distasteful comparisons but looking at the concerns of gay men in the past and people my age, genuine progress in the defence of gay rights (which is not the same as gay liberation - a different matter and one that I approve of too!) produces different attitudes. I have some older friends who regarded cottaging (cruising public toilets) as not just a necessity imposed by a repressive society but an act of defiance against heterosexual conformity. If you ask people my age and younger I just don't think you'll get that response. I think a lot of us regard it as faintly distasteful at least (and maybe outrageous) and certainly nothing we could bother to pick a fight over or defend. Peter Tatchell whom I greatly admire tried in vain to convince younger gay men to fight back against crackdowns on cottaging - younger people just found the idea absurd.

OK, the same with gay marriage. I don't see my marriage as a matter of conformity or even striving after normality. I see it as just normal. I'm in love and cmmitted to my mate and marriage is still one of the normal ways of expressing that. So, we got married. I'm glad we could on an individual level because it meant a lot to us. I'm glad we could on a social level because it's indicative of a less repressive social climate. I don't think it's gay liberation and it's not the end of fighting for gay rights - look for us to have a fight over adoption.

Young gay people are getting married because they can and where they currently can't they can see the possibility. At one stage people thought that an equal age of consent was impossible and framed both their politics and their social lives partly around that belief. Now it seems quite ordinary to demand an equal age of consent.

OK, maybe I could wish for a bit more of a "smash the nuclear family" attitude from some of my peers but, just a bit: I like some bits of my petit bourgeois conformism!

Peace and loving kindness,

Jakob

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Thanks Sumbloke. I think you have offered a thoughtful and responsible response to the topic.

My major concern is not with people who marry, indeed if that is what you want, I would argue that should be your right.

You have my best wishes for a long and happy life together.

However, if that right to marry is taken from you or future generations because someone has found a way to modify human sexuality through fiddling with human genes on a pretext of "fixing" them, then I think we are in danger of being forced into conforming to a lifestyle that is less than fully human; devoid of choice, freewill and liberty.

For further discussion on the gay gene and science see the topic at:

http://www.awesomedude.com/adboard/index.p...amp;#entry19585

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Thanks Sumbloke. I think you have offered a thoughtful and responsible response to the topic.

Yeah and I didn't gush about my wedding frock once!

(There is a limp joke in there: I'm 6'2" and I'm a tight-end prop).

My major concern is not with people who marry, indeed if that is what you want, I would argue that should be your right.

You have my best wishes for a long and happy life together.

Thank you Des, we're working on it.

However, if that right to marry is taken from you or future generations because someone has found a way to modify human sexuality through fiddling with human genes on a pretext of "fixing" them, then I think we are in danger of being forced into conforming to a lifestyle that is less than fully human; devoid of choice, freewill and liberty.

I think we need to approach this carefully. There's a much more realistic case that raises this issue. Parents of deaf/Deaf children can in some cases "fix" their children - by cochlear implant. Some people see deafness as a disability and they want children "fixed". Some people don't see it that way and they don't want their children "fixed". Most professionals involved believe that it's ultimately up to parents to determine whether or not to go ahead with medical intervention. So should society

  1. force cochlear implants on all children who are born Deaf?
  2. Forbid cochlear implantation for any child?
  3. Allow parents or others to determine case by case?

All you have to do is substitute a genetic strategy for cochlear implantatioi and there you go - this problem already exists and needs answers.

For further discussion on the gay gene and science see the topic at:

http://www.awesomedude.com/adboard/index.p...amp;#entry19585

They're going to find genes for all sorts of things - inlcuding somethings people would like to eliminate. The best strategy is to win the argument now for equal rights.

Jakob

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Great to see younger people getting married, Still some get married young and doesn't last, think it needs to be well thought out. ultimelty be able to work thru problems in the relationship.

For me I would just alike a comment ceremony.

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Yeah and I didn't gush about my wedding frock once!

(There is a limp joke in there: I'm 6'2" and I'm a tight-end prop).

Thank you Des, we're working on it.

I think we need to approach this carefully. There's a much more realistic case that raises this issue. Parents of deaf/Deaf children can in some cases "fix" their children - by cochlear implant. Some people see deafness as a disability and they want children "fixed". Some people don't see it that way and they don't want their children "fixed". Most professionals involved believe that it's ultimately up to parents to determine whether or not to go ahead with medical intervention. So should society

  1. force cochlear implants on all children who are born Deaf?
  2. Forbid cochlear implantation for any child?
  3. Allow parents or others to determine case by case?

All you have to do is substitute a genetic strategy for cochlear implantatioi and there you go - this problem already exists and needs answers.

They're going to find genes for all sorts of things - inlcuding somethings people would like to eliminate. The best strategy is to win the argument now for equal rights.

Jakob

Thanks again Jacob. That last statement of yours is exactly my motivation to attempt a discussion on these issues.

As an older man I have a problem trusting the inherent authoritarian nature of any society, especially when it thinks it knows what is best for its members.

I don't trust the law to be stable in equality of rights, just because it grants certain freedoms today.

This brings to mind the influence of the times in which we live, affecting our attitudes.

If we remain open and not closed minded, we can to a degree "change with the times."

So in reference to the topic's initial statement about differences between generations, I offer the following, in the hope it will broaden some understanding of the reasons behind those differences. No generation is wholly right or wrong in its attitudes or determinate in discovery of the human condition. Change is the only certainty.

I grew up in the 1960s and watched and participated in a glorious period of mankind seeking peace, flowers and love.

(The drugs came later and is another subject.) Laugh if you want but we really thought we were achieving a lasting world of peace and love.

Even nasty people pretended to be loving, caring and part of the general peace movement.

Older people were shocked at first as they watched their standards questioned and then many of them became part of the peace movement.

In particular, I knew a man who was nearly the age I have attained now, and who had fought against Hitler and the Nazis in WWII. I saw him wrestle with his experiences of man's inhumanity towards mankind. Slowly he developed a trust in the peace movement and joined it, saying that what we were doing in the name of peace and love was the reason his generation saw the need to stop Hitler.

Now before anyone jumps in are starts ridiculing the na?vet? of the 1960s let us be quite clear that that na?vet?, by strength of numbers, did bring peace and hope for a better world. That it failed in some ways does not mean in failed in all ways. Nor did my older friend regret one moment of having vacated his mistrust of human nature (acquired during WWII) for one moment.

For him the risk was worthwhile and rewarding.

His wife watched our world of peace and love fall into a manipulated corporation of greed as one person after another was seduced by offers of drugs, power and money. True, not everyone gave into the offers, but enough did to undo some of what had been achieved. In the early 1980s she asked me if everything we did in all our efforts to encourage peace and love and learning and show the positive values of life itself, was a waste of time? Did all the sacrifices made by so many amount to anything worthwhile? Was even the simplest gesture of kindness wasted on a humanity that sought to control each other through fear and greed? In short, is any effort for a better world worthwhile?

The answer is in what you mean by a better world.

Now I may disappoint you by not attempting to answer that question which is very difficult, but I can assure it is not just having the latest techno wiz appliance or car. No, I mention all this to show that I now feel I know how my older friend and his wife felt.

It is very challenging to see the references for the stability of your life, change before your eyes.

In regard to marriage and winning the argument for equal rights, forgive me my cynicism, but I don't trust it will last, unless winning is framed in universal suffrage for the individual's human rights.

Oh yes, I am aware that there are areas where we must enforce laws of protection and judgement on criminal acts. Those laws however must not conclude they can enforce rights on people or deprive them of their rights.

Similarly, as you point out, Jacob, intervention should be left to the individuals concerned as it was with me, (as I explain below.)

If we look at genetic manipulation for a moment (and I appreciate the example you give, Jacob), but that is exactly my point. An argument can be made to offer a repair for someone who is stricken with a congenital disease.

I was born with a life threatening congenital disease myself. My parents told me I should determine what I did about it.

I was lucky, I chose to have it corrected when I was 19 and as I am now nearly 64 I guess you could say it seems to have been a success. Of course my repair was not a genetic but a surgical procedure. Even so, the principle still holds.

What doesn't hold is where the genetic manipulation occurs before birth and is to merely satisfy an idea of what is "correct," or even socially desirable.

Who is to say that homosexuality is not part of humanity's diverse experience and as such is quite natural; even necessary.

However on the matter of the "gay gene" it is not quite so clearly a congenital defect.

Indeed, I think it is only a small part of what may contribute to an individual leaning towards a homosexual lifestyle.

"Correcting" or fixing the gene seems to me, by way of example, the equivalent of saying lets alter the human male body so he doesn't have those useless nipples. They shouldn't be there as they have no function like they do on a female. I suspect even the most masculine heterosexual would be somewhat aghast at the thought of losing his nipples.

The list of such things is quite long.

As a social example, think of the ancient Egyptians who hated body hair. If their society could have manipulated the body-hair gene, they might well have eradicated that hair.

In your first reply to the topic I chose to not comment on the era of cottaging. The point was that under the threat of heavy social criminal condemnation, disgrace and jail, it was one of the few places men could meet. Forcing the beats (cottages) to be a meeting place also served the authorities to show how animalistic the behaviour of these depraved homosexuals were.

All the more bizarre was that in addition, places like boarding schools and YMCA, and youth groups were all places that fostered, in one way or another, clandestine promiscuity.

I am very much aware of the effects of these beats and places being regarded as somewhat sacred sites for generations of men who had no other way of contact to express their sexuality.

The new tolerant attitudes have been difficult for some of these older people to accept. They had defined their lives differently to what is now not only acceptable, but which we must move to enshrine as an inalienable right to be who we are. If marriage is part of that process in two people devoting their lives to each other, I am all for it.

If two people just wish to live together without formal ceremony because they cannot bear to be apart, then I am for that as well.

I must of course in the name of consistency also state I have no problem with people who run around having promiscuous relationships with each other provided they consent freely.

It goes without saying that all of us must in these times practice safe-sex.

As I said change is the only certainty. It is up to each of us to ensure change does not reduce or even more horrifically, remove our humanity.

You see we won't know when that happens because the first and last casualty will be our human compassion.

I am willing to entertain the idea that the gay gene is somehow connected to that compassion and as such is at least dormant in everyone.

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His wife watched our world of peace and love fall into a manipulated corporation of greed as one person after another was seduced by offers of drugs, power and money. True, not everyone gave into the offers, but enough did to undo some of what had been achieved. In the early 1980s she asked me if everything we did in all our efforts to encourage peace and love and learning and show the positive values of life itself, was a waste of time? Did all the sacrifices made by so many amount to anything worthwhile? Was even the simplest gesture of kindness wasted on a humanity that sought to control each other through fear and greed? In short, is any effort for a better world worthwhile?

Now I may disappoint you by not attempting to answer that question which is very difficult. . . .

I can answer that question for myself, and don't find it terribly difficult. Yes, any effort made to foment a better world is worthwhile.

I think in many ways we define ourselves to ourselves and others in how we asnwer this question, and how we act upon it. It's much like asking, if you can do something wrong and profit from it directly, or do something good and have no one know about it, which would you choose? Your answer helps you to know who you are.

Efforts made on behalf of making a better world don't have to be of planetary impact to count, do they? If you see an old lady drop a twenty dollar bill out of her change purse, pick it up and hand it back to her, you're introducing kindness, compassion and goodness into the world. Isn't that making the world better? Isn't most anything we do that's good making the world a better place?

Isn't cheating someone doing the opposite? Isn't taking advantage of someone's lack of knowledge, maturity, wisdom or credulity making the world a worse place?

What we do matters, maybe on a very small, very local level, but it matters, and to a very great degree, it matters to us. It defines us. So to me, the question is easy to answer. Any effort made to make the world a better place is worth the effort, for the world itself, and for us as individuals.

C

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I'm still hoping to hear more about the questions I asked, especially if young gays feel pressured to get into a hetero normative relationship and how much monogamy matters. (I think the few younger ones who've posted so far say it's important.

I was very struck in the article by the two divorced gays. They spoke about feeling pressure to stay married when the relationship went bad to prove that gays were normal. I certainly think that *I* would feel that same way in the same situation.

BTW, I'm 29. Am I a young gay or an old gay?

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I can answer that question for myself, and don't find it terribly difficult. Yes, any effort made to foment a better world is worthwhile.

I think in many ways we define ourselves to ourselves and others in how we asnwer this question, and how we act upon it. It's much like asking, if you can do something wrong and profit from it directly, or do something good and have no one know about it, which would you choose? Your answer helps you to know who you are.

Efforts made on behalf of making a better world don't have to be of planetary impact to count, do they? If you see an old lady drop a twenty dollar bill out of her change purse, pick it up and hand it back to her, you're introducing kindness, compassion and goodness into the world. Isn't that making the world better? Isn't most anything we do that's good making the world a better place?

Isn't cheating someone doing the opposite? Isn't taking advantage of someone's lack of knowledge, maturity, wisdom or credulity making the world a worse place?

What we do matters, maybe on a very small, very local level, but it matters, and to a very great degree, it matters to us. It defines us. So to me, the question is easy to answer. Any effort made to make the world a better place is worth the effort, for the world itself, and for us as individuals.

C

I don't disagree, Cole, but the reason I find it difficult to answer, is not the many examples you give. Each of them does indeed contribute to what I would consider a better world and therein lies the dilemma. What I consider a better world is not necessarily what others consider a better world. The idea of better is subjective to the individual and that makes it difficult to discuss except as in the manner as you have done. To me that is very worthwhile and in sharing your thoughts you have made the world better as far as I am concerned.

But a better world achieved by getting others to believe in a religious doctrine might be considered better by those who subscribe to that belief. I doubt it would be my idea of better.

I disagree that what we do matters on a very small scale. The slightest effort of compassion makes the world better in my opinion. I think what we do as individuals has a very wide effect on everything.

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Funtails wrote: BTW, I'm 29. Am I a young gay or an old gay?

Well, if you are old what am I at 73? No you are young beyond doubt. You know, I am so old that when I first read your question about whether young gays felt pressure to get married I thought that you meant get married to women! That was what the pressure was in my young days. And I did and when the law was changed in the UK to legalise homosexual acts between consenting adults (but only in pairs and behind locked doors!) I had two daughters.

But the pressure I felt came from my parents and their friends and most of the people I knew and there was very little dissent. At that time no other lifestyle seemed possible. (Other lifestyles were possible, of course, as people liker Mike Soper show. I even know a couple of gay men who are still together that I introduced to each other in 1956! But they are extraordinary exceptions, I think.

Nowadays there are so many variations on the way partnerships work that there just isn't anything like the pressure of fifty years ago. One of my daughters is married, the other not. Each has a settled partner and two children. I think the strongest pressure for the unmarried one to get married is from her daughters who like the idea of dressing up as bridesmaids!

Now don't think I'm satisfied with how far it has gone. I still contribute to the Stonewall group that campaigns for homosexual law reform. And I do deplore the way some churches try to brainwash the children of their adherents - but then I would, wouldn't I? I'm a devout atheist like you and Des and many others on here.

Love,

Anthony

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Wow, I'm glad you decided to stop by this thread. I recently completed a short story that touches on the way older gay men got married to women back in the bad old days.

(The story will be emailed to the Dude for posting when revisions and editing are done in a couple days time.)

I would be interested to hear about how life as a married gay man was.

Are you out now to anyone in your family?

Of course, the bad old days are still with us in many ways. I have a 22 year old gay friend from a religious family who got married to a girl last year because he felt it was what he was supposed to do. Lately he's been hinting to me that he misses the gay side of life. I think he's contemplating stepping out on his wife.

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Dear Des,

You wrote: (My comments in brackets [].)

There is much more than a single issue involved in this topic. [and how!!]

If we divide the era of homosexuality into arbitrary acceptance - unacceptable periods, we end up with a clearer indication of attitudes by gay men of various ages.

Those who lived through the period of homosexuality being a criminal offence and those who came after decriminalisation. [i did. All of my experience of sex with men was when it was illegal.]

There is of course a middle group who knew both periods of time. [Yep - I knew it but by then I was married with an agreement that we would be faithful to each other.]

So we can expect at least three different groups of reactions to gay marriage based on when people were born.

As criminal offences were dropped at different times in different countries with some countries still to adopt this human right, we can see various age groups across the spectrum of time at various states of consideration on the topic of gay marriage. [Oops - this isn't a human right! It OUGHT to be but it isn't. Many states won't even support you to the extent that they will omit to enforce laws that put people in prison for homosexual acts - even though the whole civilised world agrees that such acts are perfectly acceptable.]

Deciding to spend one's life with somebody is no small commitment. [it certainly is: and especially if children are to be brought up.]

Pressure to do so, to marry, just because everyone else is doing it, is not a satisfactory reason to follow suit. [Agreed and doubled in spades.]

The social issues then become even more involved if children are part of the marriage arrangement. [Yes!!! The most important thing anyone ever does is to bring up children, whether married or not.]

Having said that, I am quite in favour of arranging one's life so that financial and responsible considerations are in the hands of my nearest and dearest. [Yes!! Of course one should be able to specify who has the right to visit one in hospital, make decisions for us when we go senile, benefit from tax breaks for legatees and so on.]

End of quote

I think it ought to be made clear that:

A RIGHT IS A POWER!

If you have rights to something it usually means the state will help you to get it. Getting married gives you rights but just being partners doesn't. For a gay couple to get the equivalent rights over each others affairs as a married couple there needs to be one of two things: either state support for marriage between any kind of partner or a special partnership that gives the same rights as marriage whatever it is called.

If the state won't support you in visiting your unconscious partner that means you DON'T have visiting rights. And similarly with the many other things you OUGHT to have. People say that I have the right to ... ... when they mean that they OUGHT TO have that right but in fact they don't have it. The language of rights is widely misunderstood.

Think about it!

Love,

Anthony

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Dear Funtails,

I'd be glad to tell you anything I can about my life. I'm now 73. I was predominantly homosexual from the time I left school till age 28 and then got married and had two daughters and... and... and

But I told my wife I was homosexual before we got engaged and she still accepted me and we have been faithful to each other for 45 years so far. I think I'm 90% gay and 10% straight!

Your wrote:

I recently completed a short story that touches on the way older gay men got married to women back in the bad old days. [i'd love to read it. I'd make proper editing comments, if you let me.]

(The story will be emailed to the Dude for posting when revisions and editing are done in a couple days time.)

I would be interested to hear about how life as a married gay man was. [My wife would insist that I'm bi!]

Are you out now to anyone in your family? [Yes, to all of them. And to a few friends. Grand-daughter Anna (aged 9) says I'm weird!]

Of course, the bad old days are still with us in many ways. I have a 22 year old gay friend from a religious family who got married to a girl last year because he felt it was what he was supposed to do. Lately he's been hinting to me that he misses the gay side of life. I think he's contemplating stepping out on his wife. [Oh dear! Didn't he tell her? In my opinion he ought to come clean at once and depending how she takes it separate or try to make a go of it. In my opinion to bring children into the world when you can't be reasonably sure you will be able to bring them up as you wish is a very immoral thing to do. BAD!!! But a partnership which begins with deception on one side has very little chance of long term success, don't you think? And not telling a wife that you are attracted sexually to men rather than women is quite terrible in my opinion.]

That makes me think he is in a society that thinks women are and ought to be subservient to men and of lesser importance. That is another pernicious attitude that must be done away with. And in my opinion it is one that is supported mainly by religions of various kinds, all of which I abhor.

Love,

Anthony

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Dear Funtails,

I'd be glad to tell you anything I can about my life. I'm now 73. I was predominantly homosexual from the time I left school till age 28 and then got married and had two daughters and... and... and

But I told my wife I was homosexual before we got engaged and she still accepted me and we have been faithful to each other for 45 years so far. I think I'm 90% gay and 10% straight!

Your wrote:

I recently completed a short story that touches on the way older gay men got married to women back in the bad old days. [i'd love to read it. I'd make proper editing comments, if you let me.]

(The story will be emailed to the Dude for posting when revisions and editing are done in a couple days time.)

I would be interested to hear about how life as a married gay man was. [My wife would insist that I'm bi!]

Are you out now to anyone in your family? [Yes, to all of them. And to a few friends. Grand-daughter Anna (aged 9) says I'm weird!]

Of course, the bad old days are still with us in many ways. I have a 22 year old gay friend from a religious family who got married to a girl last year because he felt it was what he was supposed to do. Lately he's been hinting to me that he misses the gay side of life. I think he's contemplating stepping out on his wife. [Oh dear! Didn't he tell her? In my opinion he ought to come clean at once and depending how she takes it, separate or try to make a go of it. In my opinion to bring children into the world when you can't be reasonably sure you will be able to bring them up as you wish is a very immoral thing to do. BAD!!! But a partnership which begins with deception on one side has very little chance of long term success, don't you think? And not telling a wife that you are attracted sexually to men rather than women is quite terrible in my opinion.]

That makes me think he is in a society that thinks women are and ought to be subservient to men and of lesser importance. That is another pernicious attitude that must be done away with. And in my opinion it is one that is supported mainly by religions of various kinds, all of which I abhor.

Love,

Anthony

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Thank Anthony for your considered and detailed reply.

There are indeed many issues facing young people today that were, shall I say, different, for us older guys.

On the matter of rights, I don't think power enters into the equation until a person realises that they can exercise their rights.

Even then it can be limited by society and friends.

We do not have marriage for same sex persons in Australian States yet. I say yet because I think it will happen eventually.

What we do have and have had for a long period of time are "Powers of Attorney" in two forms.

1. An enduring Power of Attorney

and,

2. Medical Power of Attorney.

I might not quite have these terms correct so expect a correction from a mind more legally qualified than mine. :hehe:

However these documents do mean that my appointed Attorney under these documents does have the right to act on my behalf and if I have so written in them, the person will have first rights, granted by me to override medical procedures and other such things including hospital visiting rights, regardless of the hospital rules.

Of course I expect someone again to question that statement, but that is my lawyer's opinion.

I agree with you Anthony that many people do misuse the word 'rights,' but also I would point out in fairness that the UN Declaration of Human Rights is not an enforceable document even though it exists. Many times people will refer to this declaration as if it is an universally adopted set of rights. It isn't of course, but it does give people pause when you use it as I have in discussions to disarm those who have abandoned human dignity in the work place and business.

Many people do not like being told they have acted in a way that is opposed to human rights even though such 'rights' cannot be legally enforced because they have not be recognised by the state in legislation. A country may be a signatory to the declaration, but not actually grant the rights to its citizens through legislation.

Ultimately however the individual does not need the state to know and act on what is wrong or right. That is a personal ethical standpoint granting the individual the power of his convictions in conducting his life. He has in other words, granted his own rights to live his life as best he can.

:wav:

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Anthony, what form did the pressure to get married take? I know I'm feeling a some of it now and it's usually in the form of 'when're you gonna settle down and give your mother some grandkids?"

Thankfully, my brother got twins recently so a lot of that approach has eased up.

--------------------------

How hard has it been to stay faithful to your wife? Back before, when I was religous, I had pretty much resigned myself to marrying a woman. I figured that the mere physical closeness of sex would be enough of a turn on that I'd be able to um perform when needed but, that if I had to, I'd fantasize about guys when I had sex with her so I could get it up. ANy thoughts on this area?

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I wonder if the article presupposes the question or the answer.

I also wonder if the article presupposes a certain definition of what constitutes a marriage (or other commitments between two people). I know the debate about "what is a marriage" is a whole, contentious topic in itself. So, I'll also do a slight sidestep of that point.

I can't really speak for young gay men and women, even though I try to be an advocate online for them. I'm in my early 40's, so I'm no longer a teen or 20-something. They have their own opinions and they can state them better than I can.

So, I'll say what I think on the subject.

Yes, this is a very personal, subjective "I/me" take on the subject, but when we get right down to it, Love is very personal, and should be.

Pressure Points

Perhaps we shouldn't assume young gay men and women feel "pressured" to have a committed partnership. Just possibly, they simply want that for themselves, a stable, loving relationship between two people. We don't have to put other preconditions on it or call it "marriage."

If that is what many young gay men and women want, then more power to them. It isn't harmful to want that.

So many people my age and younger have grown up seeing their friends or themselves raised in single-parent homes, that they are more cautious about moving into a commitment like marriage or partnership. No wonder, then, that younger people would be cautious about it, but would want to make sure that, if they do, then they form a stable, healthy partnership.

Yes, I know some people see no need for a marriage or partnership. They believe that's transitory or artificial. Well, OK, then. Perhaps they have a point. But I personally want a partnership when the right guy and I find each other. I want to know that he is really going to make a commitment. Remember, I'm in my early 40's. That guy had better be willing to stick around for real, until I kick the bucket or he does, or else, gee, it was fun, but it was temporary, and he might be tempted to get while the gettin' is good, if things get bad for awhile. Yeah, I want him to be committed to put up with me and my folly, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.

I think all those young guys and girls want is a good, solid, real relationship for each other and so they can raise any kids, if it comes to that. What the heck could be wrong with that?

Hey, I also know that I have a ways to go, before I find that guy who's right for me, or before he finds me, find each other, whatever. So I understand that there will be dating and boyfriends and probably breakups, before finally finding that wonderful guy for a life partner. I am adult enough to know that means things may be really hard. Hard? Oh hush, but yes, I want love in all senses, with a partner. I want a real relationship: Romance, Friendship, and oh yeah, some Sexiness too.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

I choose to think that a long-term, monogamous commitment, where both partners share responsibility and benefits and visitation, and help raise their family and any kids -- To me, you may call that a Commitment, a Domestic Partnership, or a Marriage. It is what it is, whatever we call it, and there is certainly variation among marriages and/or partnerships. -- At least two partnered couples whom I consider good friends would say they don't consider what they have/had a marriage, but to me, I see little difference between that and what my parents had, aside from, well, those particular friends are gay or lesbian. Also, that's what I want, if I ever find the guy for me. Except, I want to be sure that if I have a partner, we are covered legally, financially, in health care, and in insurance. I want the same rights....

Oh yeah, I said I wouldn't get into the definition of marriage. I went on a rant there. Sorry.

Hey, I am glad to see younger gay folks taking the big steps of a partnership seriously and wanting it to be a lasting relationship.

Too much of life is temporary and flawed. Why not try for something more permanent, and strive to make it better? So what if we aren't quite perfect.

That younger guys and girls are willing to make that kind of effort to create something better than what us "old geezers" have done is what says we just might have a future as a species, after all.

Oh, and -- Yes, I hope to have a lifetime partner. Yes, I will call it a partnership and probably will equate it with a marriage. Yes, I think it's great, if a gay partnered couple have kids. I wanted kids. I thought that because I was gay, I wouldn't ever have that, a family, children. I don't know what the future will bring. I may only pass along who I am and what I believe in, by what I do and say for others. If so, well, I hope it was mostly good stuff.

My final thought on this:

Let's support them for wanting and working toward gay partnerships and the rights that should go with them.

Even if your own ideas about partnerships are different, isn't what they want a good thing, in the long run, for all of us? And by all of us, I mean, without labels of "gay" or "straight." We're human. That's plenty. We're all together in this mess of being human, even if we think we are not together, and even if we or others try to separate us.

Our species has to start growing up, some time, if we're going to make it. We have to support each other, if tht's going to happen.

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Dear Des,

You wrote:

On the matter of rights, I don't think power enters into the equation until a person realises that they can exercise their rights.

What we do have and have had for a long period of time are "Powers of Attorney" in two forms.

1. An enduring Power of Attorney

and,

2. Medical Power of Attorney.

However these documents do mean that my appointed Attorney under these documents does have the right to act on my behalf and if I have so written in them, the person will have first rights, granted by me to override medical procedures and other such things including hospital visiting rights, regardless of the hospital rules.

Of course I expect someone again to question that statement, but that is my lawyer's opinion.

I agree with you Anthony that many people do misuse the word 'rights,' but also I would point out in fairness that the UN Declaration of Human Rights is not an enforceable document even though it exists. Many times people will refer to this declaration as if it is an universally adopted set of rights. It isn't of course, but it does give people pause when you use it as I have in discussions to disarm those who have abandoned human dignity in the work place and business.

Many people do not like being told they have acted in a way that is opposed to human rights even though such 'rights' cannot be legally enforced because they have not be recognised by the state in legislation. A country may be a signatory to the declaration, but not actually grant the rights to its citizens through legislation.

[end of quote]

The UN Declaration is exactly what I was complaining about - a sliding from what IS a right to what OUGHT to be.

In the UK you have a right to a jury trial in some circumstances. It is because the law, the police and so on will support you to see that you get it that you have that right. When the UN declaration says you have a right, the chances are that if you live in Iraq or Myanmar or China or ... or ... you won't have that right because you won't get it unless the current despot in charge says you may. You may use it to support you in some civilised places like Oz, but try it in Rangoon or Shanghai and you would get short shrift!

And, of course, it is even more confusing to mix up the matter of rights which are powers with the question of right and wrong behaviour. It is perfectly possible for people to have rights that are wrong. For example in some Muslim countries a man may divorce his wife by simply declaring that he isn't married to her any more. And because the law and society will support him if he does the fact is that it is a right. It won't be in any UN list though!

In the UK you used to have the right to get out of jail if not charged after 24 hours inside. It was called habeas corpus after the wording of the writ which the authorities would support. Now all that some policeman has to do to keep you incommunicado and locked up for 28 days is to declare that you are a terrorist suspect!

UK citizens no longer have the right to freedom. And this highly repressive and authoritarian government is trying to extend the period to 56 days!

I used to think that Michael Howard was the worst and most reactionary Home Secretary since the war, but Jackie Smith is worse than he was! And even if the Conservatives are more liberal than the Labour party on some things they are so much worse on the other things that those of us who want Labour out can only vote for the Liberals and they will get a turn at power when the moon is blue!

Rant over. But I am actually feeling pretty despairing about the way society is changing.

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Anthony, whilst we might be approaching the world from different angles, the world we see is pretty much the same.

In Oz our rights are being whittled away as much as they are anywhere.

"Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither." Paraphrased from Benjamin Franklin.

Unfortunately I have deemed it necessary to state the above so that when I say we are in danger of losing our right to dissent in our democracies, I will not be construed as a threat, which of course I am not.

The UK is not the only country where the Left has moved to the right of centre.

Here in Australia our unions are openly disgruntled with the traditional left wing party of their choice, now in government, acting in a way that they claim disadvantages the workers.

Habeas corpus can now be overridden , or bypassed along with a jury trial, by claiming an individual is mentally unable to function. He has to be brought before a court within a certain period of time to validate his detention and can be presented under the influence of drugs so as to prove the detention is necessary. This is scary to say the least. Especially as the mental health system is over crowded and a psychotic deranged person may be sent to minimum security to falititate the detentention of the judged social misfit. Trying to prove that this has happened is probably impossible.

Of course, "if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear." Why does that sound so threatening?

Much of what we see is in fact old world political institutions trying to cope with an overcrowded planet by applying inadequate measures of inappropriate governance.

Where are the answers? What can be done?

Why are so many people acting with the best of intentions by doing so much harm?

Why is so much horror allowed to go on without intervention?

Why do we ignore the peaceful solutions in favour of military ones, the cost of which would go along way to solving all the problems over which they fight?

Despairing indeed.

But I refuse to submit to the thought that all is lost.

Hope may well become all we have. If it does, we must maintain our right to hold onto it.

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Dear Blue,

Only forty-ish eh? Lucky you. I'm 73. But I do really agree with almost all you say. I do want lgbt couples to have the same rights to long term partnerships as marriage gives for straight people, because I am sure that is what I would have wanted when I was young. But where would I have got the children? I mean Brew Maxwell's Foley-Mashburn stories are wish-fulfillment aren't they?

The reason why society should give rights to stable partnerships is that they are the basis for raising children and there is nothing so important as raising children. It isn't getting married that matters it's having children. I have always liked children and always wanted to have my own and when I found a woman who would accept me in spite of my homosexuality I was very glad to get married and commit myself to it. And it worked! I have two daughters and they each have two children and so I have four grandchildren. I also have Sylvia and after 45 years together it does look as though it's till death does us part. But we are both fiercely atheist and no church blessed our union!

But I was despairing at 28 of ever finding a long term partner and we both felt that the period from puberty to marriage was an extremely painful sexual desert - and quite unnecessarily so. So we made sure our daughters did not suffer from that. Indeed it was highly amusing when we went with our eldest to the family planning clinic to give her moral support to find that the staff there assumed we were there to oppose provision of the pill and condoms because she was only sixteen! In fact we were there to do our best to ensure she didn't get pregnant accidentally when we allowed her boyfriend to stay the night in her bed (which we were already doing)!

And, in fact, neither daughter did get pregnant accidentally although both of them ditched their early partners and both got married and divorced before finding their current partners and having children.

And both daughters appreciate what we did and both say they will do the same for their own children (whether the partners in question are of the same or different sexes. Oh! I didn't say, but I've never been in the closet as far as my close family are concerned. They all know I say I'm gay and Anna (aged 9) says I'm weird.

Why doesn't everyone do this? I guess it is the effect of religion - whether the established CofE or of any other and of the ridiculous idea that what is good behaviour is defined by what god wants!

Love,

Anthony

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