Elder Queer Joy and Love

The piece of queer media which stands out to me as being valuable in terms of this class is the film The Birdcage starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. What I find so valuable and resonant in terns of this particular piece of queer media is how it depicts elder queer love, queer community, and queer joy. Granted, the men who are in love in the film are not old per se, but they are queer people who are beyond their twenties or thirties, which is something that I think more queer media needs representation of. A lot of the texts we have read and that I have read in other classes discussing LGBT issues were written or written about younger queer people (ex. Saeed Jones is in his thirties, Eli Clare was in his thirties when Exile and Pride was published, etc. ). Which of course is valuable but it is also valuable for the voices of elder queers to be heard so that the younger generation can not only appreciate its history but look forward to its future. Obviously I understand how the AIDS epidemic has impacted how and how much we head elder queer voices, so I recognize that that poses a challenge.

Also, I think this film, while it does fall into certain queer stereotypes, it also depicts the presence of queer joy.  Certainly some of our texts discussed similar themes but a lot of what we have read focuses on the struggles associated with queerness and I think it is just as important to read and study and prioritize the joy that is being queer and experiencing the LGBT community.

3 thoughts on “Elder Queer Joy and Love”

  1. I like how you highlighted how important it is to show different perspectives in the LGBTQ+ community, especially across generations. It is quite unfortunate that due to ageism and the media’s biases toward an age that we don’t see Queer elders represented as much. The lack of variety in representation ignores an important part of the community and can make it seem that only a certain part of your life is important or exciting. Lastly, I totally agree that is important to acknowledge elder Queer voices as a way of connecting to the Queer community’s history. This reminds me of Adrienne Rich’s poem “Study of History”. As Rich’s poem talks about the lost history of Queer people, I feel that it further supports the need to acknowledge and remember Queer history especially when it’s usually not deemed important enough by society to be documented.

  2. I totally agree with you when you say that there are age ranges in the queer community that are underrepresented. This fact makes me think about the intersectionality that underlies even within the community itself. In the particular case of queer elders, little by little examples are appearing that combat this low visibility, such as the TV series “Grace and Frankie”, where the husbands of the protagonists leave them because they are in love with each other, all of them being around 60-70 years old.
    “A Secret Love” is also another example, a documentary about two women who kept their love secret for decades to come out of the closet at an advanced age.

  3. I agree that representation of queer people of different ages and different lifestyles are important for young queer people as much as it is for queer people of any age. As someone else mentioned, “Grace and Frankie” provides great representation of an older gay couple coming out late in life. I think that “The Legend of Auntie Po” provides a story line on the opposite spectrum, a story of young queer love. Just as it is important to see yourself in the media, it is also important to see where you may end up.

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