Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Invisible Man: Gay Senior Robert Harkabus Hid from View When He Was Younger and Has to Fight to Be Seen Now

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Invisible Man: Gay Senior Robert Harkabus Hid from View When He Was Younger and Has to Fight to Be Seen Now

Article excerpt

LGBT PEOPLE HAVE HAD A LOT of practice being invisible. For gays like me, who came of age in the 1940s and '50s, the straight world was a place where we had to stay hidden. Society was much more repressive than it is today, and either people were more naive or they just wouldn't talk of certain things.

I obeyed the dictates of society, family, and community and remained invisible. My gay identity was not apparent to my family (or were they just being kind?). At my workplace I avoided prolonged eye contact with other men who I suspected were in the same boat I was confined to. While I talked about my occasional "straight" date, I imagined how wonderful it would be to work at a place where everyone was gay. Even at my church I was hidden--though I suspected God knew--and I stayed that way through my eventual marriage and parenthood.

When I was 55, my divorce set me free, and I embraced the gay world. I thought I would finally be seen--only now I found myself invisible because of my age. This was and is a gay thing. Although we're intelligent, informed, and attractive, older people become unseen by the eyes of a younger age group. Granted, the reverse is also true: When seniors talk about their aches and pains and pills, we can't be surprised that young, healthy people become invisible--as fast as they can.

But take it from this older gay man: You don't die after you turn 40--or 70, for that matter. Life goes on and in a lot of ways gets better. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.