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“The Gay Life Is Sad And Lonely”. Or Is It?

There’s another gay movie being released. Yes, another one. Today I read a review that detailed its premier. This section of the review intrigued me –

But perhaps the most telling audience response took place much earlier when one of the mothers, having learned that her son is gay, declares that it perforce means “living a lonely life. A very sad life”. The audience laughed in disbelief. They knew better.

It’s a motherly response that Ive heard of before. It seems that it’s not an unusual motherly response, at least in recent previous generations. The child would come out to them, and the mother would reflect on how the child will likely struggle in life; never enter the traditional marriage with children, will rather spend most of their life single, may struggle to get promoted at work in the face of discrimination, and in old age may die largely alone. A stereotypical, yet sincere remorse.

But the movie reviewer suggests that this characterisation is a myth. And he suggests that the movie audience agrees wholeheartedly that it’s a myth. So …. is it?

I think that the issue of societal rejection and discrimination is very much dependent on the individual concerned, whether the issue is homosexuality or not. A good looking, outgoing, confident, bright and friendly homosexual will suffer much less from rejection and discrimination, than someone without these traits. The same is true in regards to racism or any number of other possible causes for societal rejection. And it’s also dependent on circumstance. A homosexual in a cosmopolitan environment will suffer less, than elsewhere.

But what about the average homosexual? Does the average homosexual lead a sad and lonely life? Is that life any different today than in recent decades? Many of the homosexuals I know, but not all, are single and have spent most of their lives single. Some homosexuals are lonely, EG. And I can think of several local homosexuals, who experience moderate to severe depression. Some are on medication for it. But then I also know straight people who are single, and a few who also have experienced clinical depression. This well-informed article, written by a same-sex attracted male, suggests that on average, loneliness affects homosexuals more than heterosexuals.

And will the average homosexual spend their later years alone? Well it does seem that a gay man’s heyday is in his youth. After his looks have faded, the party is over. But I can think of various gay retirees who maintain good friendships, both with other homosexuals and with straight people.

Personally my impression is that life is still harder for the average gay person than the average straight person. There is probably less societal rejection than in past decades. But still, Im surprised that the movie audience laughed. I wonder if the movie mislead the audience on the realities of gay life? Or whether the reviewer injected some of his own wishful thinking?


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