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Older gays jealous of younger, freer generation says writer

Writer says older generation shouldn't be jealous of younger LGBT people.
Photo credit:
Wikimedia Commons - George Dement

In an opinion piece for Attitude Magazine, UK writer Dylan James says that the younger generation of “queer kids” are enjoying a gilded age virtually free of problems.

“Shame is largely a thing of the past and homophobia is, like, SO 2008.” he writes.

It’s a bit confusing at first to understand which part of the LGBT spectrum he is referring. I am going to assume he means gay males because trans women are being killed at an alarming rate and lesbians don’t even have their own spaces anymore.

It should also be noted that James mentions that things aren’t perfect, and there is work to be done, “But it’s way better than it used to be.”

In his commentary, He acerbically celebrates the fact that gay men and women in the public eye are able to “twirl” on stage in the case of Olly Alexander and Troye Sivan, and can be as uninteresting as Sam Smith.

He celebrates that gay kids, for the most part, are fitting more and more into neighborhoods, “It just is what it is” he says.  

But what is most interesting, and Queerty also picked up on this, is the way James basically calls out the older generation of the LGBT community as being curmudgeons, a mass of haters who want to spoil the LGBT youth's good time, like a cranky neighbor.

“There seems to be an attitude among older generations of LGBTQ people, particularly older gay men, that their younger counterparts are 'losing sight of the issues.' Many seem concerned that kids these days don’t appreciate what they’ve got, saying they prioritise superficiality and fun over activism and action.”

He then alludes to a book called Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy, a book filled with descriptions of men who lived through the AIDS generation and emerged as alcoholics and mentally infirm.

He writes:

"It must be hard to swallow, after going through such struggles, to see young, chatty, confident gay men swanning about like they own the place. Unfortunately, this is when poison and jealousy can rear their ugly heads. It’s understandable really, but this doesn’t make it reasonable or right."

Take that older generation! You’re bitter, they’re better!

The problem with his narrative is not that the older men are jealous, I’m sure they enjoy seeing “young, chatty, confident gay men swanning about.” But while these kids are out and proud, many elderly gay men and women are dying alone, harassed in nursing homes or forced to go back into the closet.

James doesn’t give an age range of the older folks he claims are ruining all the fun, but he doesn’t think this generation should pay any immediate mind to the treacherous road that brought them to this freeing point in history.

“All this raises the question – SHOULD young LGBTQ people care about their history? They’re certainly not obliged to. Why should they? This is just their lives. They’re existing as they should always have been allowed to exist – happily and freely. They shouldn’t be made to feel guilty, or even grateful for that.”

It's anyone's prerogative to recognize, or not, the people who led the way to freedom. But not heeding their warnings may determine whether history gets repeated.

It's okay to have fun, but it's dangerous to ignore important lessons from those with experience; you run the risk of undoing all the work that's been done.