When was the last time you took a gay senior citizen out for a cup of a coffee? When was the last time you sat and talked to one? When was the last time you acknowledged to a gay senior citizen that you appreciate what they did so that you could enjoy what gay rights you have today?
Most gay senior citizens live in poverty and are not welcome to nursing homes or government-run facilities. Many gay senior citizens do not have health care and are alone because they have lost their lovers, friends and peers. In reality, most gay senior citizens are invisible.
I don't usually talk about or review documentaries, but the next time you wanna watch a film, instead of spending money on renting/buying a DVD or ordering a movie from NetFlix that you will forget an hour after you watch it, hire or purchase the film 10 More Good Years. The people featured are the gay people who set the stage for gay marriage. These are the people who marched, fought, petitioned, went to prison in order for gay magazines, newspapers and books to be published and distributed - they even fought the US postal service so you could get The Advocate.
They laid the foundation so that Will & Grace, Queer Eye, and The L Word could be seen on TV and Brokeback Mountain on the movie screen. These are the lesbians who were at the forefront of running to help the gay men with AIDS by setting up health centres and the people who started organizations like The Radical Faeries, The Mattachine Society and the Sisters of of Perpetual Indulgence, so that those who wanted to get married in California could. These are the same people who are alone and lonely, cast aside just because they are old and, in most cases, poor.
For those of you in your 20s and 30s, study the history of gay people from the 1930s onwards who have done so much for you so you could live the life you are living today. For those in your 40s who can stand out and proud today, acknowledge the debt you owe them. For those of you in your 50s, let them know you are grateful for their rebellion at Stonewall just when you were reaching maturity.
If you live where there is a gay community centre, go and spend time with a gay senior citizen - take them out for a cup of coffee and some conversation. Instead of buying yourself a $5 latte at Starbucks, get them a box of tea which will bring them many hours of enjoyment. If you rent a DVD, ask them over to watch it with you.
Yes, you owe them for what they have done in the past so you could have what you have today. They are poor and living on what little benefits they get because all they were concerned with was marching, petitioning, striking, having sit-ins, etc., and just working enough to have a roof over their heads and food in their stomach. They were more interested in fighting for a cause - your cause - then accumulating wealth and, consequently, they are suffering today.
Those in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are part of another great generation and you in your 40s and 50s should know what they sacrificed for you - those in their 20s and 30s owe it to yourself to read their histories - all deserve to acknowledge them. An aside, 10 More Good Years is worth watching to see the twinkle in the eye of one man who says he was kicked out of the service as an 'undesirable' but they were wrong because, "I was always desirable!"
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