it gets better: wisdom from our gay elders

Uploaded by LGBTAgingProject on 19.10.2010

bjbjo It gets better: Wisdom from our gay elders Transcription Bob: Hi. My name is Bob
Linscott with Ethos and the LGBT Aging Project. I would like to share with you some voices,
voices that are so rarely heard but contain so much wisdom and a lifetime of experience.
You know, one of the things that was really challenging for me when I came out was a certain
myth that I kept hearing: that all gay people grow old alone, lonely, and depressed. So,
naturally, if you ve heard that same myth your future is going to seem bleak or hopeless.
But, I would like to introduce to you a group of wonderful people who would like nothing
better to do than to bust that myth. Lawrence: Life does get better, and I know you may be
looking at me with this grey hair and saying, What can he say to me, and, What does he know
about all of my struggles and problems? Well the truth of the matter is been there, done
that and here I am. Sheri: Listen to me. I am old enough to be your grandmother, and
look at me, I m sitting here telling you don t do it t do it. It gets better. It does get
better. You know what helps? A sense of humor. Have a sense of humor, laugh about things.
Ruby: So, I just love being gay. It s not an issue for me. It s just s who I am. That
is my whole core. Sam: Look at me 80 years old it gets better with age. It gets more
respect it gets s funnier, that I can laugh at some of the things that I ve done. In my
era it was very difficult to be out, and yet I always found a laugh. I always found some
humor. Joanie :Life is beautiful and we re beautiful and we are family, so don t give
up. We re all here for you. Lois: What you feel at 13, or 17, or 15 can be very different
then what is going to ultimately happen to you. You re not going to be depressed. You
re not going to grow up and be old and depressed and alone. That s not the way it is that s
the image that some people would like to project. Sheri: When I was 15 years old, I wanted to
commit suicide and I even tried it. As I had the belt around my throat I said, Wait a minute
this is crazy because I m going get out of here, things are going get better, I m going
to make it, things are going to be alright. And besides, I couldn t hurt my family I couldn
t hurt my grandmother. When I was 18, I left home; I joined the army and traveled all over.
In 1964 I met my partner ve been together 46 years. I could only tell you that look
what I would have missed if I had taken my own life. Not only would I have hurt my parents
and my grandmother, I would have missed out on all of my life living with Lois for 46
years, all of the wonderful things that we ve done and I m glad, I m glad I didn t commit
suicide. Mel: I m 66 years old and I lived most of my life in the closet, and now in
my older age ve come out, hung out, hung in there and life gets better. Actually, its
even been getting better for me now. Lawrence: I know, when I was a teenager 100 years ago
I thought about suicide. I did more than just think about it I attempted it. But, I guess
luckily, I m here. Because, after I got out of high school all of the sudden I saw a whole
new world. When I got into college, I found that there were people who accepted me and
me alone and that was quite amazing. Sam: I m just happy to be this gay man that I am.
Lois: I m a very happy woman at 79. Ruby: I have more activities, emotionally, being
out then I think ever before. So, I have a very healthy libido Lois: Just put one foot
in front of the other. Jim: Watch Glee on television they re all having a good time
watching Glee. Ruby: It will get better. Take it from me, it will get better s guaranteed.
I ve been through hell and back a number of times but, I held onto who I am and my gay
identity and I love my sexuality. So, whatever you do please be kind to yourself and hold
on. Just hold on no matter what, it will definitely get better. Lawrence: Listen to me, it gets
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