Stars of latest Generation Dating episode share their different experiences as gay men in Ireland

The stars of Virgin Media show Generation Dating opened up about their life-changing experience on the new episode.

Split screen of cast of Generation Dating episode: Ross Fennell, left, and Michael Burke, right
Image: Twitter @COCOcontentie

Two gay men have shared their experience of appearing in the new episode of Virgin Media show Generation Dating, deeming it as “life-changing”.

Generation Dating is the new Virgin Media show bringing together single people of different generations. In the newest episode that came out on February 23, the two men in question, Michael Burke, a 69-years-old London-Irish, and Ross Fennell, a 21-years-old Dubliner, talked about their different experiences in living their sexuality.

When entering the show, Ross did not feel entirely comfortable talking openly about being a gay man. “I’m very new to the gay world, to the gay scene, and I kind of needed that push. I have never been on a date before so I was like ‘Look, I’ll try it’,” he told the Irish Mirror.

Although he was out with his family, Ross mentioned always feeling a certain “awkwardness” around the subject. Things changed in the house when, during the episode, Michael visited his family. “Once Michael came into the house, we kind of just relaxed,” he commented.

Michael, the other star, had a very different experience with living his life as a gay man. A former member of the gay men’s choir in London, he returned to his hometown in Sligo only three years ago with great wisdom to impart to the younger generations. “I was engaged to a woman at the age of 21, nearly got married, but I met this really rather gorgeous guy and he changed everything,” he recalled.

He spoke about this experience as an “opportunity to interact with people of a different generation and show that we can learn from each other, that we can interact and go out and have fun together.”

Michael’s hope is that the show will help combat what he termed “generational discrimination”, meaning the stigma and prejudices that older people often encounter when dating, especially on apps. “One of the things that I am fed up with is younger guys calling me daddy,” he said jokingly. “Enough already – I’m nobody’s daddy”.

The two stars had a blast together on the show and Michael made it his mission to help Ross own his identity and enter the dating scene. In another episode of Generation Dating, an elderly widower formed a heartwarming friendship with a bisexual girl, showing the audience that it’s never too late to learn acceptance.

It seems like one of the most precious things that the Generation Dating stars will take home from their experience is the beautiful relationship they formed with each other.

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