My experience as part of a gay intergenerational relationship

How the experience of being in a gay-to-December relationship led to the creation of a social/support group for LGBTQ+ couples.

A younger man putting his hand on an older man's back in a kitchen

I’m Mike. I’m 33 and I’m married to a man who is 60. We have been in what is called an intergenerational relationship, or (as it can be affectionately known) a gay-to-December relationship, for 13 years.

Such intergenerational LGBTQ+ relationships are, in one particularly important way, different to LGBTQ+ relationships involving similarly aged persons: there are two ‘coming out’ stages for those like us . . . First, we come out as LGBTQ+ to those close to us. Second, we recurringly come out to those not so close to us – often with our significant other by our side – as being in an intergenerational relationship.

From personal experience, this is something usually done with a statement like: “Oh, no, he’s not my father! He’s my husband!” or “Oh, no, he’s not my son! We’re married!” Depending on where you are in your relationship journey, this second kind of ‘coming out’ can either be (on one end of the scale) amusing or (on the other end of the scale) awkward or even traumatic.

I recall a well-known journalist from a widely read and respectable Irish newspaper telling me that I “must have daddy issues” when I told him that I was married to someone so much my senior. This is the common, quite lazy assumption: that the younger person has ‘daddy issues’ or is a ‘gold digger’ and that the older person is a ‘cradle snatcher’ or indeed some other unsavoury label with which we’re all too familiar. That the relationship could be a loving one is something that is rarely thought of by others, at least initially. As Oscar Wilde famously put it: “That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.”

The LGBTQ+ community in Ireland is thankfully far from the pillory these days. However, there are certainly demographics within the community – often older ones – that may not feel as a part of the sexual orientation/gender identity revolution as others. By association, those in older-younger LGBTQ+ relationships are such a demographic. And, yet, these relationships are ones that, as Wilde accurately pointed out, “repeatedly exist between an elder and a younger” person, when the elder person “has intellect” and the younger person “has all the joy, hope, and glamour of life before” him/her. (Wilde was of course speaking about male-male relationships but the sentiment is surely transferrable to any intergenerational relationship under the rainbow.)

I’ve felt for a long time that there needs to be some sort of social/support group for LGBTQ+ members who are in such intergenerational relationships – not merely for help with the coming out processes but also for sharing experiences and ideas around navigating the dynamic, with its ups and downs, successes and challenges. To that end, I’ve set up a new online group on Facebook called Older Younger LGBT+ Ireland.

The purpose of the group is to provide a friendly, open, and safe space for intergenerational couples who are members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. Confidentiality / Privacy is assured. You are very welcome to join the group and/or be active in its development. Find us at: Older Younger LGBT+ Ireland | Facebook.

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