In Case You Thought Gays Couldn't Commit**Update**
I'd like to update this post in response to a comment from Bruce Garrett. I encourage you to read the comment from Bruce because he brings up some very good and well thought-out points--points that I had not considered when I originally wrote this post.
Now, in my clarfication, I'd like to say that my comment about my coworker was not to condemn his behavior or demean the work of him or his generation (although I see now that my words were more harsh than I had intended them to be). My comment was that my coworker is falling for the same fallacy of logic that people like Paul Cameron fall for. Paul Cameron determined the average life expectancy of gay men by looking in the obituaries of gay papers during the height of the AIDS epidemic--thoroughly skewing his results to the point of being meaningless. Other anti-gay grouops have claimed the rates of STDs among all gays are astonishingly high by looking at studies done only on gay men in STD clinics, giving similar useless results.
Obviously, these are studies and claims that have poor results because of sampling. These groups ignored gay people that didn't die during the AIDS epidemic and those that didn't list an obituary in a gay paper. They also ignored gays that didn't go to STD clinics. My coworker unintentionally ignored a group of gay people that did not frequent the party scene or the drug scene (he was heavily part of this scene by his own account).
In my coworkers case, I believe that his experience was similar in that he knew most of his friends from the club scene, most of whom were involved in drugs and unsafe sex. Had he met his friends outside of this type of environment, he might have had a different point of view. Gay or straight--the club scene surrounded by promiscuous sex, drug use and partying is not a safe one, and these types of environments will skew people's perceptions just like a sampling problem in a study.
So, that was my intent. I apologize for not being clear and being too harsh about the environment I was describing. And, I appreciate Bruce's comment (which I encourage you again to read). Bruce is right--there are people out there like him and my coworker that have lived their lives as openly gay men for decades so that the life I have can be as easy and fulfilling as it is. They've fought the battle, and I frequently think back in awe of how hard it must've been, so I in no way want to demean that experience or contribution.
Now, if I've still come off to strong, I apologize again, but I believe my point about sampling errors skewing people's beliefs or perceptions about gay life and gay life span still holds true.
Here's the original post:
I was talking to an employee at work the other day about how there aren't any old gay people (Well really I was listening to him talk about it). He's gay and about 65 years old and was lamenting that most of his friends had passed away over the years. Now granted, he did live through the height of the AIDS epidemic, but he didn't seem to draw the connection between his few remaining friends and the out of control party days he fully admits he used to be a part of. Maybe if he had met some gay people at his local church or local community organization, rather than out at drug-induced raves he wouldn't have had such an unfortunate turnout. Then again, this is the same person that spent over 15 minutes telling me how hard life was for Geminis. I guess some people just don't get it--on both sides of the issue.
Anyway, in case you are like him and think that a) gays die young or b) gays can't commit, check out this story of the nuptials of an elderly lesbian couple that have been together for 40 years. Now that's a long time in anyone's book. Who knew there were even gay bars back then?