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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 22, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 16
Arts & Entertainment
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Letters

THANKS FOR THOUGHTFUL ARTICLE
I appreciated your thoughtfulness in using excerpts of a recent article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Wesley Church in Minneapolis ['Methodist minister to defy church, bless same-sex unions,' March 18, 2011]. People who missed the article in print subsequently saw it in the Seattle Gay News. And in at least one instance, it enabled a couple to contact me.

As I tried to indicate to the Star-Tribune, we believe that all persons in 'responsible, mutually respectful, and reverent relationships' deserve to have their relationships blessed by us or any other spiritual community or religious tradition. Your gracious reprint of the article helped make that possible. Thank you. Every good wish to everyone at the Seattle Gay News.

Greg Renstrom, Minister
Wesley Church, Minneapolis



GROWING OLDER IN THE GAY COMMUNITY

I've had a lot of time to think since I retired as a counselor. Especially as it relates to being a part of the Gay community and how I fit in (or lack thereof) as an older man. I still keep in good shape, as that's important to me, not only for my health but admittedly for my looks as well.

I remember recently seeing a comment on Facebook from a man who said that after he turned 35 he no longer associated with the Gay community. He now hangs out with his straight friends. He said that he was treated as though 'he didn't exist' (my words), any more in the Gay community.

I understand how he feels. I am no longer 35 (even though I still think I'm 30), and I do find it a little difficult to feel included anymore. Times have changed. I have changed, but one thing I have learned is that it's easy to create our own image of who we are and how we fit in. I think I responded to this man, and I thought sometimes it's our own perception of ourselves that tends to be the problem, and to hell with the 'twinks' and their fashion icons.

Well, I don't really feel to hell with the twinks and their fashion icons. They are just trying to define who they are and how they fit in to the Gay community as well. We were there once ourselves. Didn't you ever change clothes about a dozen times before you went out, and didn't you spend an hour on your hair to make sure you were just perfect and attractive to everyone? Been there, done that. Now my hair is thinner and my face is beginning to show my age, but admittedly I try to dress reasonably well. I have always felt that how a person dresses defines how they feel about themselves, and that hasn't changed.

It shouldn't matter what other guys think of me, and if it does, then that's my problem. If I sit in a club and no one talks to me, whose problem is that? Am I putting myself out there so that I am approachable? Or do I just sit there feeling isolated and don't talk to anyone myself? As older men, we have to get past that. Rejection is not fun - it wasn't fun when I was younger and it isn't now, but we move on. If I feel I am being rejected by a younger guy or even an older guy, I try to think 'It's too bad, they don't know what they are missing out on.' There is more to me than what's on the outside. Too often we see guys with their 'trophies' and know that when the fun wears off and you strip them down to their very souls, it won't last, and they move on to the next trophy to show off.

I'm a relationship kind of guy. I always have been and, yes, it has its problems as well, but even as I get older I know there is more to relationships than who you look good with. It goes much deeper than that.

So the 'twinks' will get older, and one day they will be in the same boat that we are, and then what do they have to fall back on?

Getting older has its advantages. We are smarter, wiser, more mature, and get into movies cheaper (I had to add that), and who we are is not defined by what others think of us, but what we think of ourselves. As you grow older, love yourself and love those 'twinks' with their fashion icons, because one day, they will be right where you are.

Dennis

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