Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Old Queen!


You'd think that a title of royalty might be a compliment to a gay man, but "old queen" is one of the ugliest names you can call someone in the gay community.

Revering The Elderly
Marilyn told me about a heartbreaking, but fascinating article in the New York Times yesterday about the treatment of gays and lesbians in nursing homes. Particular thanks to Jane Gross and Dan Frosch for putting together such a sympathic view of this special population.

It has never been a subject I've wanted to think about too much...getting old...and this article made me think about it a lot.

I have no children, and while I've treated my nieces and nephews fine over the years, they would certainly feel little or no obligation to help me if I needed it in my later years. I've tried to keep myself healthy enough, so that I'll be able to maintain independence from others' help for as long as possible, but that can never be guaranteed. Trying to make sure I have options as an elder in my current planning leaves me with trying to make sure I have sufficient financial resources to ensure I'm treated with dignity, and to also cultivate friendship with others in the LGBT community to make sure I have some means of social support.

I often rail with a quixotic fervor against issues that have very little chance of being solved, but I truly wish that overall, we would begin to revere our elders, rather than have disdain for them. Both in the gay community as well as with our non-gay brothers and sisters. A man can dream, cant he?

Current Knitting/Crocheting
I finished another three stars (which is extremely good for mid-week crocheting).



With 52 stars completed and 88 more to go, I'm still feeling as if there is a possibility I will finish this mammoth task. Of course, I also have the little filler stars to work on, but they don't take that much time.

Current Reading
I'm still on my binge of Patricia Highsmith writings. God, I'm sorry she's dead. I'm on my last book of hers.



A Game For The Living is a wonderful, much cheerier book of Ms. Highsmiths, and probably one of my favorites yet. It incorporates her writing style, aspects of her personal wanderlust and a vicarious look into a time in foreign lands that used to be.

9 comments:

Cynthia said...

I agree we need to better appreciate the older members of our community--they are our history and deserve better. I have no kids and often worry about what will happen. As you say--I need enough money and a network to have a shot at some dignity. Another horrible side-effect of our terrible health care system. I really believe that part of the reason people treat the elderly so poorly is because it is such a hard job--backbreaking, unpaid, emotionally difficult, and often simply out of the league of the caregiver. I hope the next person in the White House takes this and all health care issues seriously.

angie Cox said...

I can't see a single reason to identify a patient by their sexuality but sure it does happen. My M.I.L is black and gets called some rather choice things by residents at the care home she works in . That said we have been hiding the fact that my husband 's best friend is gay .She constantly asks why he never married and you know she is digging hard( this is his request) so I wonder how she would treat a gay patient .
Being called anything Royal would be an insult to me and I don't mean that lightly .I hate hearing kids called "Princess" because it suggests an inbred family who think themselves superior are treated as if they are "divine" as they once believed . I am afraid an awful lot of surveillence in homes seems essential as ill-treatment of the elderly and helpless is too common.

Merbeth said...

Bravo! Our society is geared to and for the young, where there are many all over the world that look up to the elderly. I see the way they are treated in the everyday and it pisses me off when they are ignored, teased and picked on while driving. But then, there is the ultimate pay back..everyone gets old.
When my mother started her downslide, my dh and I made sure she could live in her own apt., got to the Dr., had food and a meal cooked by me, sometimes. She died in her sleep. Damn right it was an effort, and it could become a PITA, but I wouldn't have changed one thing. She deserved every bit of our effort, and so many do. Gay or lesbian, black or white..getting old and needing help fucking sucks.

Dutch Jan said...

How sad to read this article. We -in the so called liberated Holland- see the same problems for elderly gay men or lesbians. Maybe in Amsterdam there are possibilties (but would I like it to live only with gays around me? defenitely NO for me) but in the east where I life I guess is the same atmosphere in elederly homes as is spoken in the article. My mother was in her last months of her life in a very good elderly home for dementia but I wonder what would happen if a gay men would be open about his life to other patients?. I am sure the nurses and doctors would support the patient. Not a nice idea for the future, but I always believe (how difficult sometimes) that when you live your life in the open only than things can change to better, So no curtains for us at home!!!

Fredda said...

In other countries, the elderly are revered and are treated well. Here in the US that is only the case if you are white and have lots of money. My mother lived in a condo community in Florida, where people from NYC, LI and NJ moved when they were about 60 to retire. What I've seen with my mother, who ultimately died of Alzheimer's disease, and an aunt who is now 86 and not very mobile, is that people avoid them. Even my mother's best friend from childhood stopped visiting her because "it's too hard. I don't want to think that that is the way I could end up."

Being black and/or gay, or belonging to any other minority group only makes it harder. We may all be "born equal", but it sure is downhill from there.

The lace is coming along beautifully. I love watching your progress.

Also, regarding Patricia Highsmiths, I felt the same way about my favorite author, Andre Dubus, who died about 5 or so years ago. I'm reading his short stories v-e-r-r-r-r-y slowly.

Kathy Merrick said...

Jos, cher, move on to Henning Mankell. Cold, depressing Sweden. Good for the soul

Sherry W said...

Off track here: What type of hooks do you enjoy working with, Joe?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a great approach to aging.

There's no guarantee for people with children either. I've known many people who we completely alone when they were old even though they did have children.

Keith

Elizabeth said...

What's interesting, is that recently there have been several communities opening up for the GLBT community (there are some straight people, but the point is that it's a very very accepting community). There's one in Arizona? that they just did a story on in the LA Times. I can only imagine that there will be more such communities opening up in the next few decades...