Being gay and being old is basically different from a generic being old without any other specification? In theory it may seem that adding the adjective gay to old age the substance of the facts does not actually change, but a difference between a generic old age and a gay old age exists and is of considerable weight: gays do not have a family ‘they will probably have a family a long way to go and even then having a mate at a legal level means almost always having a peer or almost a peer mate, but for an old man the sense of the family is identified with having around people of other generations that are somehow linked by strong affective links to the old man and support him during old age, especially in the weaker stages where autonomy is diminished.
A gay is not a ring of a chain that will continue, a gay is the last ring of a chain and as such is destined to remain alone. Even those who have children can be basically alone and can in some cases feel more solitude because they have desired the affection of children for years and can see such hopes completely vanished in the sense that being abandoned by children is even worse than having no one to rely on. From this point of view an old gay is more protected, it is impossible for him to be disillusioned because it is impossible for him to be deluded.
An old gay will end up being an old man tolerated because he is essentially an alien to the lives of his relatives who will be close to him. An old gay tends to remain autonomous as long as he can, to avoid being a burden to anyone and at the same time to not limit his own freedom and privacy by reducing himself to being run by others, but time will still lead him to a condition of dependence and not of dependence on children but on people who are less likely to be really interested in giving him real support. An old man with children can accept to depend on them, although such a situation may be heavy, it’s at least natural, he can delegate to his children all decisions, even those that concern him most directly. In any case, children have an inheritance expectation that in any case would belong to them, and take care of old parents is generally not due to reasons of economic interest. When you have to rely on strangers or distant relatives, the speech is completely different and reasons of the economic interest really exist, when, even if small, there is a legacy.
I would like to add something I’ve been thinking about, an old gay over a bit of money and material goods also has a set of objects that have a profoundly private dimension for him: his books, his computer, his mail kept away over the years, his writings, poems, diaries. Where it would end all these things if they came to the hands of heirs driven only by economic interest? Probably would be thrown away in a very short time and the reflections of a life would end up in the garbage. An old gay usually holds a lot of his memories, his writings, his photos, things that are not of interest to others. All those things are part of a culture, a culture that is entirely special, that others cannot understand, which for them is not only foreign but is even a disvalue.
An old gay would be very interested that his world, after him, would not be completely destroyed, that at least a part of his experience might be useful to somebody. Anyone who has children can be deluded to transfer to the children feelings and values, on the contrary, the man who does not have children and belongs to a culture in some aspects (and are basic aspects) separate, would like to have a similar possibility of transfer contents in a chain that passes from generation to generation.
An old gay remembers that when he was young it was very difficult for him to have clear ideas about homosexuality, if he had been able to enjoy the wealth of experience accumulated by others before him, most likely, awareness would have been quicker, more complete and less problematic.
There is a specific gay culture, certainly evolving but real, strongly rooted in personal experience of any gay, but still today this culture is substantially reduced to what comes out of official culture, in terms of books and films. If a gay goes to see a movie like Maurice or reads Forster’s novel, he feels the movie and the book as part of his own culture, recognizes his roots, but apart from these great monuments of cinema or literature, now consecrated by celebrity, the heritage of the diffused gay culture, elaborated through the experience of millions of people who have not arrived to the notoriety, is unfortunately destined to perish with the death of those who lived those experiences.
Time ago I published pages from the war diary of two Italian soldiers who had fought against the English army in Libia on the Egyptian border http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/sh…php?tid=91 . From those pages you could guess the true story of the two guys, those pages have been saved by pure chance but are a very rare exception, especially if you think that we are talking about the diary of two soldiers. I wondered what could really be behind those diary pages, what feelings, clearly not expressed and inexpressible, what frustrations, how they considered and lived their life. These are fragments of gay culture linked to the lived life and unfortunately are just fragments.
Nowadays the possibility to collect our writings is certainly much greater, but the enormous amount of supply and the overwhelming commercial dimension of the culture make in fact a bad service to gay culture that too often assumes an ideological dimension and omits the narrative biographical dimension , the introspective and poetic perspective that would give gay culture a dimension much more tied to reality.
Each of us, insofar as he can, makes history and elaborates a piece of gay culture in the extended sense of the term. It is a culture often hidden and deliberately neglected, yet in the life of each one there are seemingly unique and unrepeatable elements that could be of extreme interest to many others. Culture means sharing, common heritage. There are so many cultures, and there is also a specific gay culture. We are not talking academically about the existence or absence of a gay culture, anyone who looks at the phenomenon from the inside perceives its irreducible specificity. It is culture as a fruit and the elaboration of experience, it is culture as a shared moment. That’s why an old man does not like the idea that his whole world is going to end up in a trash bin, that his PC is not intended to convey interesting content to others, but to be simply formatted to be reused for other purposes. A man really ends when even his own world disappears definitively, and that’s exactly what an old gay would avoid, if possible: he would be deluded not having lived in vain, not have spent a lifetime accumulating books, articles, mails etc. etc. just to let someone else throw all this into junk, of course, unfortunately, garbage remains the most likely hypothesis. The same goes for blogs, sites, forums, and any other means of expression that lasts as long as they are fed, and then are destined to disappear quickly with all its contents to make room for other content.
An old gay knows that his world, to have some hope of surviving it, must not end up in the wrong hands, I do not say hostile but just indifferent. But it remains the underlying conviction of the total transience and the uselessness of any attempt to preserve something of himself for others and this is consoling, because the dispersion of what we have been and of what we have accumulated over a lifetime does not depend on us and is in some way inevitable.