To be young was once highly prized on the gay scene, but a whole generation has reached maturity since the first performance of the musical ‘Hair’ announced the dawn of a new age of peace, love, and beneficent social revolution. By 2017 in the UK, there will be more of us over 65 than children under 5, for the first time. Where is the gay population heading with its wealth of accumulated experience, and how can we get the best out of this braver, newer society?
Gay men have always had a ‘Peter Pan’ quality, a trait of looking younger than their years, and the entire movement defies ageism with its extended adolescence, forward-thinking and creativity. This chimes with scientific advances that would have us all living fitter, longer lives.
Being upbeat, avoiding negative thinking, and being open to new thoughts and ideas, work better than drugs, though social disparities like poverty and lack of education work in the opposite direction. Who could not fail to be impressed by the 106-year-old woman who remarked:
“When I am faced with a bad situation, I immediately find something good in it.”
Eating fish, fruit and vegetables, with a regular intake of caffeine (for mental agility), research has also shown to be beneficial, while those with some kind of faith or spiritual belief also seem to cope better with whatever illness life throws at them. Above all, if there is a gay gene it is attuned to all these positive factors in our evolution as a species.
Is it too much to suggest that gay people may hold the key to the fabled elixir of life? When the AIDS virus came along in the 1980s like a fatal plague to the revellers in Poe’s tale of ‘The Masque Of The Red Death’, the images of beautiful young men perishing just as they achieved joyful sexual liberation were uppermost in our consciousness. It all seemed so unfair, and became a ready stick for religious fanatics to beat us with. Yet, with medical advances, we have subdued the virus, mitigating its worst effects, at least in more affluent countries.
The gay rainbow, like its natural counterpart, shines brighter against a departing storm. Where now, we may ask? Gay people are best placed to throw out all prejudices, and be more accommodating to each other. I’ve always said that the scene needs more humanity, and who better than us to embrace our differences and diversity. Its time to raise the bar, and think more seriously of what we’re about.
Ideas surrounding the Age of Aquarius present a confused and conflicting picture, but the New Age thinker Albert Amao sees the start of this cycle in human affairs in 1950, and its features would include the advance in computer technology, greater sexual equality, the ascendant power of the United States and gay liberation. I was once told that a group of those born in the early 1950s were known as the Arachnids, and have very special talents and qualities to bestow on the world. How many of these Arachnids are gay, I wonder?
I’d say to gay people everywhere, when life starts getting you down, or in the midst of sexual doubts and relationship difficulties, when gay dating seems a minefield, just remember you’re very special, and here for a greater purpose - you are spearheading the age of Aquarian renewal and hope.
By John Hartley
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