Article..."Better Late Than Never".

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Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby nimby » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:04 pm

Very interesting article from the Advocate on comming out later in life:

Posted on Advocate.com December 14, 2009

Better Late Than Never
Many LGBTs are coming out later in life, which raises the question: What took so long?

By Dr. Jallen Rix



Blessings to Meredith Baxter, the actress who played the progressive, politically active mother on the classic ’80s TV sitcom, Family Ties. After three husbands and five kids, she met the right woman, had her “aha” moment, and the pieces finally fell into place. She’s a lesbian. She’s a lot more progressive in a whole new way!

The question I kept hearing was, “How could she live into her 60s and not know she was a lesbian?” What keeps people so out of touch with themselves, they wouldn’t know their own sexual preference for several decades of their life?

Yet, when I did the math, I realized there is still a huge amount of the population that grew up during a time when homosexuality was a crime. The LGBT civil rights movement is still rather young. Just 30 years ago sex education was fraught with lies (even more so than today) and nearly nonexistent. Furthermore, people who are now in their 50s and older were raised in an age when the entire world was engaged in war; therefore, maintaining a calm status quo was likened to bliss. Many just wanted to get to the end of life having no harm come to their families. Sexual pleasure had very little to do with it. They often believed conformity was more important than diversity when it came to social structures, and many forces — religious, political, familial — used power, fear, shame, and even violence to keep people in line.

With all these pressures, their choice to live in denial — not understanding and avoiding their true sexual orientation — was the only way they knew to survive. Is it any wonder that plenty of people go to the grave never dealing with their sexuality or even experiencing the sex they secretly longed for all their lives?

Although there are still a lot of unfounded constrictions on society, there are other ways we have evolved. With the waves of the information age not just washing over the young but rippling through other generations, there are a lot of older people learning about and coming to grips with their true sexuality. As a sexologist, I had hoped to quote all kinds of research and statistics pointing to the whys and whens of people coming out later in life. Unfortunately, as with most topics related to sexuality as well as the aging population, there seems to be little money or energy given to researching these subjects.

MetLife conducted one groundbreaking study on LGBT elders and baby boomers in 2006, but it was not so specific as to address coming out later in life. One organization, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), has led the way in bringing attention and legislation to protect and support the elders in our community.

Based on my own practice and what other colleagues in the field have reported, I find that some elders come to grips with their true sexuality when their hands are forced — either personally or publicly. Maybe they are caught living a double life and they can no longer deny who they are. Perhaps Ms. Baxter would still be a lesbian hidden from the public eye if not for having photos taken of her on a Sweet cruise.

Others have seized the opportunity when a life change occurs, such as the children leaving home or a spouse dying. They feel circumstances have aligned to give them the “permission” to act on their true attractions.

Some people simply never give their sexuality much thought. Then they have an “aha” moment, maybe in conjunction with meeting a particular person of the same gender and it all comes into focus. Darlene Bogle, a Christian lesbian, resisted her sexuality for years until she met Des. She says, “I knew instantly that I not only had God's approval and love but that this woman was God’s gift to me.”

Overall, there’s a common feeling that most everyone has when finally being honest about his or her sexuality: This is who I am. This is who I love and I want to express and explore it before my life is done. As an acquaintance, Rodney Boiger, described it, when coming out at 58, “What a feeling of relief rushed over me. Finally what I always knew to be true on the inside could be reflected on the outside. I’ve had to make a lot of changes in my life to get here. It’s scary not to have all the facades I used to feel secure hiding behind, but oh, the sense of freedom. I’m like a teenager again, deeply happy, unburdened, and light as a feather, and that’s pretty great at any age!”
"Why do we have asteroids in the hemisphere and hemmorroids in the a$$ ? "
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby Earl Butz » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:59 pm

I think it would be harder I mean softer for a man to fake it that long. :P

But yeah better late than never I guess... :?
A hard man is good to find!
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby jabpcola » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:43 pm

Earl, you don't necessarily have to "fake it". I had a rather colorful gay past as a teen into my 20's. I met my true love when I was 18 and guess what, my love was a she! We were together 49 years, and married 45 before she passed away this past August. I came out to her two years into our marriage when the old temptations reared their heads again. But as I've said elsewhere on this forum, I never gave into those temptations. In the 45 years we were married she was my only sexual partner. Our emotional bond was like steel, we were totally into one another right up until the end.

However, other than the first couple of years we were married, I have always known my true self, as has she. But for 21 years I was a very successful leader and officer in the US Navy. Not one whisper of "I think he may be gay" ever. So it isn't all that difficult to "hide" or "fake it" as you say. I never faked anything. I am gay, but loved a woman. No faking there, just truth, understanding, and trust.

Sorry didn't mean to preach. Will I change my lifestyle now, adapt to the new world where gay isn't thought of as being terrible? I honestly do not know. I won't try and hide my sexuality, but doubt seriously I will ever have another relationship. Sex? Maybe. But relationship, no way.

Thanks for reading...
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby olywaguy » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:01 am

Well, I am someone who came out to himself late in life as well. I'm 46 years now and came out to myself when I was 38 years old. At times, the gay life still seems new to me. Sometimes I still feel like I am playing catch-up.

As for me, not wanting to admit I had those feelings is what did it for me. Grew up as a preacher's kid...it just couldn't be possible.
Carlos

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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby Ashpenaz » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:20 pm

This is where I'm at right now. It's taken me awhile to be comfortable with being gay. I have no idea what to do, exactly. I wish I'd come out when I felt I was more attractive! :?
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby nimby » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:56 am

I was miserable for years and didn't know why, then all of a sudden I too realized who I am and what was missing in my life. I paniced cause I wasn't no spring chicken either, but I didn't want to miss the boat, so I jumped in with both feet. I acted on my urges to so see if I was correct, found a willing test guy and then it all clicked. I was happy. The guy left me when I came out to my wife, but the wife stayed :mrgreen: . Now things are great again and I feel complete. I'm out to only those who matter in my life, but that is enough for me, for now.
"Why do we have asteroids in the hemisphere and hemmorroids in the a$$ ? "
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby crankycurmudgeon » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:34 pm

Ashpenaz wrote:This is where I'm at right now. It's taken me awhile to be comfortable with being gay. I have no idea what to do, exactly. I wish I'd come out when I felt I was more attractive! :?


No use crying over spilled milk.

My experience was similar to yours (ie I thought it was OK as long as I didn't act on the information and onlty really accepted it in my 40's). Ultimately, I figured out that given the way I take in information, my desire to not disappoint others, and the way I make decisions, the course of my life would have taken the same path - I would have made the exact same decisions. Once I accepted that, I was ready to move on.

If you can, please let go of all the hurt, pain and baggage and embrace your life. As dark and miserable as your experiences were (and I don't discount the depth and weight of that given what you have written elsewhere), you are not alone. By living honestly with dignity and integrity you may be suprised at what happens.
Like a bad penny, some things just keep coming back.
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Re: Article..."Better Late Than Never".

Postby Ashpenaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:23 pm

I think I'm beginning to appreciate all the experiences that led me here, even though they were painful. A lot experiences were good, though. I have a lot of friends that might not have played such a large and wonderful role in my life. And life isn't over yet--50 is the new 20 as far as I'm concerned! :) Plus, I've been reading up on Viagra and Cialis. High blood pressure and other medications be darned--a satisfying sexual adolescence is just a prescription away! 8)
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