Why are gay men so afraid of aging? A specific question Sage Utah proposes and works diligently to end the vexation. Many gay men feel that life ends at 40. There accordingly seems to be no place for older men in the gay male culture. So is it a fear of losing looks, sexuality, endurance, desirability, fitness or all of them?
On Sept. 10, Sage Utah hosts “Happy, Healthy Aging for Gay Men”, a workshop featuring seven expert panelists in various areas to address the aging process, specifically for men who identify as gay, nonbinary, masculine, male.
Panelist Dara Cohen, Esq., whose expertise is in wills, and estate and legal planning says, “Without an estate plan, default laws will dictate who the heirs of your estate are, as well as who will care for you if you become incapacitated. This default law may not align with an LGBT person’s wishes, especially if that person wants their estate in the hands of their ‘logical family’ and not necessarily their ‘biological family’.
“Estate planning is vital to provide for unmarried significant others and minimize disputes among blended families.”
“Aging can be a doorway to profound liberation. The man who stops caring so fucking much about what everyone else thinks — he’s free and happy,” says panelist Fred Coyote, a sexologist. “He is no longer weighed down by the heavy psychological armor that he dragged around in his youth, which he thought was protecting him, but which actually kept him from reaching his full potential.
“And the Sage lives lighter and brighter because of it! He lives liberated, in the now.”
Panelist Jerry Buie, LCSW, Pride Counseling explains: “I think of our queer community as in its infancy in this new surge of societal relevance and recognition. We enjoy more freedoms and rights than our forebears before us.
“In this most recent incarnation, LGBTQ seniors have an opportunity for one last act of activism — claiming our place as the Wisdom Keepers, Sages, and Elders of our community. To bear and share the history of our lives. We have the talent, skill, and tenacity.
“Our Queer community, in its infancy, has an interesting opportunity to change the narrative regarding aging for LGBTQ people.”
The workshop is divided into three sessions:
- Opening session — Each panelist will introduce themselves and talk specifically about their ideas of happy and healthy aging, especially for males who identify as gay, nonbinary, masculine, male.
- Break-out session — Three or four break-out sessions with panelists leading an interactive discussion in their area(s) of expertise. Participants should ask questions about their fear of aging and areas of being prepared for their individual aging process.
- Wrap-up session — Panelists and others briefly share break-out session discussions and what Sage Utah can do in future workshops and programs to continue to meet the needs of Utah’s aging gay male community.
Additional expert panelists include:
- Matthew Bryan MD, IHC — a physician with a particular emphasis on gay male health
- Hans Heath, LGBTQ Financial — helping gay men be financially secure as they age
- Troy Andersen, Ph.D., MSG, UofU School of Social Work — Gerontologist
- Paul Holbrook, MA, Age Performance — fitness training for those over 50 years old