Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Empty Bed

In 2008, I rented a movie called An Empty Bed. It was written and directed by Mark Gasper and released in 1990. It raised a point that I'd never been conscious of before. Gay men who reached their mid-twenties before 1969, the year of the Stonewall Riots and the celebrated year of the birth of Gay Rights, tend to be reclusive as they age.

The theory presented by Gasper is that prior to 1969, gay society was very secretive and the social bonds that most of society take for granted, weren't available to gay men. Most of gay society centered around the few gay bars that existed. If you were still young and beautiful, you had a social life at the bars. But, once you began to age, there were few alternatives to the bar scene. The result was that most gay men became less social as they grew older simply because there were so few places where a person could be openly gay. 
I was 17 in 1969 and still locked inside my closet. I began to come out in 1972, at the age of 20, when I landed, quite by accident, in Provincetown, Massachusetts for the summer. Even though the gay rights movement was gaining momentum, I can still see in myself, some of the traits that the lead character in the movie exhibited.
This was a revelation for me. I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Gasper for sharing his insight.  It allowed me to be much more comfortable with who I am.

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