Turns out that social media is a great place to connect with the gay parents you never had.
I have been late for basically everything my whole life. I graduated high school at 19, I went to college at 26, and even though I've been out to my friends and lovers since highschool, I didn't come out to my family until I was in my 30s. When I was first in search of queer community, I bonded with others who were going through similar coming out moments, many of whom were younger than me. As a result, I don't really have any queer elders to help me figure out how to do adult life.
Since I am on my merry way to becoming an elderqueer myself, it seems more important to me than ever to have queer elders of my own. I am finding them in the absolute last place I thought I would — social media. Here are the elderqueer influencers that are helping find the hope and skills to survive and thrive in a world where it still doesn’t always feel safe to be out.
I’m not sure who needs to hear this — I definitely did — but nonbinary people have always existed. And while our culture is really coming around to recognizing young, hot nonbinary queers, there’s just not many aging nonbinary role models in the public eye. Calla Felicity, a 68-year-old nonbinary lesbian TikToker, uses their TikTok feed to edutain folks into a more nuanced understanding of gender, identity, and sexuality.
In one TikTok, Felicity explains to their audience that they didn’t have the language to express their nobinary gender identity to other people until recently. The way they are willing to courageously share the many steps of their gender journey is a hopeful reminder that who we are is always in flux and that experimenting with ways to express yourself isn’t a joy limited to teenagers. Watching Felicity move from city-to-city, fall in love, and get engaged is the inspo a lot of us need to make our lives into the queer adventure we want them to be.
The Old Gays is a group of four elderqueer men who have become a massive hit on TikTok and Instagram. They’re basically a four-man media empire in glitter. Robert Reeves, Mick Peterson, Bill Lyons and Jessay Martin live together in a beautiful home in Cathedral City, California, where they play dress up and lounge in matching fetish gear by their pool. The Old Gays are always singing, laughing, and playing pranks in a way that makes aging gay look like a total blast. Together, these men are totally redefining what it looks like to live your best gay life well into your 70s.
I’m not the only aging queer longing for guidance. Journalist Shon Faye produced an amazing podcast called, “Call Me Mother” last year that is a series of eight interviews with inspiring elderqueers. The first episode features Kate Bornstein, legendary author of the trans classic Gender Outlaw. Bornstein tells relatable stories about all the places they looked for acceptance and understanding — including the Church of Scientology — and where they ultimately found themselves after living 73 years as a gender nonconforming person.
I found so many inspiring icons in my quest for elderqueer role models that there’s absolutely no way I could chronicle them all here, which made me realize: We really are everywhere, we have always been everywhere, and we aren’t going anywhere.