FOF #709 – Growing Old Fabulously

Feb 21, 2008 · 1985 views

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In many cultures the aging process is embraced and revered because as we grow older we gain wisdom, stability and respect. But for many people, especially gay men, the aging process is a deep source […]


  1. Crying is not a turn on JackieLynn. I wish Hillah would stop the mudslinging. She is acting like a cornered animal. Can’t wait to hear equal time from an Obama supporter 🙂

  2. Maia says:

    I enjoyed the whole wide-ranging conversation with Louis, but especially the frank discussion of the misogyny involved in all the Hillary Clinton campaign coverage. It IS disturbing. Amen, sister!

    I’d love to hear what Barack’s and Hillary’s vagina monologues would be…

    On NPR yesterday, a radio listener described Hillary’s voice as “an all-American cherry pie… made out of solid steel.” I like it.

  3. brian says:

    Fausto and Mark, you normally do such a good job providing balanced opinions about topics discussed on the show. I’m disappointed to hear these continuous one-sided exchanges about Hillary and Barack. Your guest mentioned asking Barack Obama about gay marriage; I would love to know if he asked the same question to Hillary Clinton and what her response was.

    Between the two, Obama is the one who mentions us, his “gay brothers and sisters” in many of his speeches, including in front of audiences where I’m sure he is advised not to (like MLK day at a black church). Hillary and Bill Clinton had their chance to stand up for LGBT Americans and they chose not to, in fact after they had fund raised the hell out of us they slapped us in the face with legislation like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

    There are plenty of opinions about these two candidates and how they would serve our community but we are not served well when we don’t open the mike to debate.

  4. The focus of this show was not to debate between the two candidates., it was to hear Louis’ opinion. GLBT issues have changed a lot since Bill was in office and Bill has stated he regrets supporting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

    Here’s an open letter to the GLBT community from Hillary:

    As I have traveled around the country these past twelve months, what I sensed in my heart has been confirmed. America is embracing its LGBT sons and daughters with an acceptance and understanding as never before.

    On the campaign trail, a father of a gay son will ask about ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A woman will ask why she can be discriminated against just because of who she is. Sometimes they wait furtively for the crowd to thin and then whisper their confidences in a soft voice and sometimes they stand up proudly at town meetings and want me to share my views on how I will help lead the change to assure that this country fulfills its promise to everyone.

    Let me tell you what I have been telling voters across America. I am fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of LGBT Americans. For seven long years, the Bush Administration has tried to divide us – only seeing people who matter to them. It’s been a government of the few, by the few, and for the few. And no community has been more invisible to this administration than the LGBT community.

    I will change that. The best evidence of what I will do as President is what I have already done.

    I am proud of my record as First Lady, as a U.S. Senator and as a candidate for President in working toward the fair and equal treatment of LGBT Americans.

    I am proud that as Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in 2006, I worked closely with LBGT community to develop a smart strategy that defeated the Federal Marriage Amendment. I am proud of fighting the FMA as divisive wedge politics at its worst.

    I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligation Act which would grant the same benefits (including health insurance) to domestic partners of federal employees that are currently offered to employees’ legal spouses.

    I am proud to have authored the Early Treatment for HIV Act, which expands access to vital treatment options for low-income individuals living with HIV, and fought to fully fund the Ryan White CARE Act.

    I am proud that I hired a National Director of LGBT Outreach within a month of announcing my candidacy for President and to have openly gay and lesbian staffers serving at all levels of my campaign.

    I am proud to have a National LGBT Steering Committee of over 130 that includes openly LGBT elected officials, Board members and opinion leaders on issues ranging from transgender rights, to HIV/AIDS, to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

    I am proud to have marched in Gay Pride parades as both First Lady and as Senator and to have spoken in front of so many LGBT audiences ranging from the Human Rights Campaign, Empire State Pride Agenda, the Hetrick Martin Institute, PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

    I am proud to have fought Republican efforts to demonize and marginalize the LGBT community, and I will continue to do that as President.

    We have so much work to do. When I am President, we will work together to make sure that all Americans in committed relationships have equal benefits and that nothing stands in the way of loving couples who want to adopt children in need. We’re going to expand our federal hate crimes legislation and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and assure that they are both fully inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. And finally, we will put an end to the failed policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice – the traits that define our men and women in uniform – have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

    My father was a conservative Republican, who held very traditional views for much of his life. Yet in his last years, it was a gay couple who lived next door who provided much of the compassion and comfort he and my mother needed as he grew ill. And it was that same neighbor who held his hand as he died. If my father can move, America can move.

    To each and every LGBT American, I say this. You have done so much to help this country understand your lives by simply being open and honest about who you are and living your lives with dignity. Thank you for your courage. It is time that we recognize your hard work. I know that this country is ready for changes in the law that reflect the evolution in our hearts.

    America deserves a President who appeals to the best in each of us, not the worst; a President who values and respects all Americans and treats all Americans equally no matter who they are or who they love. I want to be that President. I want to be your President.


    If you cnafind one from Barak, I’d love to read it.

  5. brian says:

    Obama does not have to release private letters to the gay community, thank you for underscoring my point. We shouldn’t be segmented out in a letter to a group of constituents/donors when a candidate is in dire need. Didn’t this letter just come out this month? She knows who has the disposable income.

    Both Clintons have a history of supporting the gay community just up until the point where it becomes politically prohibitive. Barack includes us when he speaks to everyone, when he is up and when he is down, like the one I mentioned above:

    Senator Obama’s MLK address at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on January 20, 2008…

    “For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

    And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

    We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity. ”

    For more letters, articles and endorsements related specifically to the LGBT community you can visit Obama Pride here:

  6. Ok I’m a little bit confused…..the show was about how we should be comfortable with ourselves as we get older, etc….but then Louis talks about all the plastic surgery he’s had done? So does that mean that the way to not feel anxiety about getting older is to get all sorts of procedures performed so we can still LOOK like we’re 25? Just thought I’d ask for clarification. Love you guys.

  7. good show.. yet them only thing that bothered me about Louis is that he embraces his oldness and aging and all that, but then he went and got all that plastic surgery.. to me it was like he thinks getting old is great and he can feel even better saying that cos he got plastic surgery to change his appearance, that was brought on by aging to begin with..its like he’s saying “getting old isn’t so bad! especially when you can get plastic surgery to make yourself look better so your not THAT old and ugly looking!!” ah dunno…

    and i think it be great to have a woman as a president, but not Hillary. i honestly can’t stand the woman…and it this point she seems totally fucked.. because Obama keeps beating her in the primaries..but maybe she still has a chance..
    but as long as we don’t get the republican candidate as president i don’t care if its Obama or Hillary. x(

  8. I totally agree with you chickengirl (great name by the way!) After these past 8 years, either Hillary OR Obama would be great. We’d make history either way.

  9. Rhea says:

    So if Louis says that followers of Barack Obama are akin to people being in a cult, then I say: Pass the Kool-Aid!

    Neither Obama nor Clinton are angels, but either one would be a way better President than Bush. I just think out of all the politicians, Obama is the least evil.

    And Fausto, I love you man, but I disagree with the comment you made about Michelle Obama, about her being just a pretty face. She is a well-spoken woman, who graduated cum laude from Princeton, as well as Harvard Law, and she seems to be every bit Barack’s equal, just like Hillary is to Bill.

    I just cringed when I heard that comment, especially after you guys were talking about the sexism and misogyny that was directed at Hillary Clinton.

    Just my two cents CDN!

    (to show there’s no hard feelings I’ll be buying the new t-shirt and mug on my next payday)

  10. damack says:

    Wow, what a shill for Hillary. Can you make a point about the candidate you support when you criticize their opponent as being ‘messianic’ but you then lionize your candidate to the point of ridiculousness? Is Louis on the Clinton payroll? Because between the fiction he was spinning about Obama and the glorification he was passing off as truth about Hillary, it certainly seemed that way.

  11. Rob says:

    Great show today guys…….
    Good topics, I Enjoyed Louis alot.

  12. Louis was great! Hope to hear him again soon. He is a voice of reason, without being boring…

  13. gabe says:

    i agree with the above posters. i really enjoyed louis’ conversation until he started talking about all his plastic surgery. it didn’t exactly follow his previous talk about embracing getting older/embracing age.

  14. Jonas says:

    This is a very tough question I think. He embraces the internal processes of aging while at the same time also condoning the “miracles” of modern times, basically plastic surgery. I think: If it makes you feel good, and it’s not illegal or hurt anybody – then you do it if you want to.

    I think this was one of the more interesting shows in a while (now don’t get me wrong. I am a FOF convert.) I understood the guest clearly. You are given more time to think about other issues than looks and short term goals – you can actually allocate time to do things you’ve wanted to do before, and you have the time to do it! And he also talks about coming to terms with it – I think that’s a process we will never really understand [truly] until we actually go through it. 🙂

    I also understood doing this surgery act of his as part of research in his career?

  15. I just posted that letter because it is the first time a Presidential candidate, desperate or not, has done something like that.

    I’d like you to find Obama’s letter and post it here, I’d love to read it. I am open to hearing more from him.

  16. Great show guys…..really opened my eyes to Obama and how to age gracefully….not that I need to worry….I’M NEVER GETTING OLD DAMN IT…..NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Doug says:

    Thanks for the show about aging, guys. Getting older in the gay community is a touchy topic for many, usually ending with a sarcastic remark that hides fear and loathing about getting older. I appeciated having Louis articulate some of the things about getting older, and even if he chose to have plastic surgery to make himself look “better,” it doesn’t mean that he backs down from the fact that he is an older gay man (athough he balked at admitting hs age).

    Okay, fine- I’m the same age as Louis (56), and the way I see it, the trade off for actually being fortunate enough to live longer and enjoy more of this world is that you get older. Back in the ’80s I was the same age as the 30-somethings who are usually on your show (including you, Marc and Fausto). Although I’ve “been there, done that,” I am still a vibrant human being, looking for love and what interests me. I feel fortunate to have found FOF, because I enjoy listening to the podcasts (usually, though, I am WEEKS behind- sorry).

    I have a lot of friends who never got to make it to my age, friends who have died in one way or another, and every day I am filled with the kind of gratitude that Louis talked about, gratitude that I am healthy, still here on this Earth, still able to enjoy my life. Okay, so a lot of younger guys ignore me or are slightly patronizing- I remeber being the same way when I was younger, making jokes as I passed a “wrinkle bar” in San Francisco, and a lot of that comes from the inexperience of youth. Hopefully the youger guys will be able to live long enough to get everything ion perspective!!!

    Okay, so you, Marc and Fausto, will be about my age in the 2020s(!). I wish all the best of fortune as you journey toward that. Thanks again for having Louis on the show and PLEASE have him come back and talk more about age issues (I like that many of the comments on this page haven’t been about his age, but his politics!!!)

  18. Thanks Doug, it’s very touching. All of us are moving forward one way or another. Let’s make it rich and delicious.

  19. And here is a Statement From Hillary Clinton On The Memorials For Lawrence King:

    “I was deeply saddened by the recent death of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was killed at his school in Oxnard, CA. No one should face intimidation or violence, particularly at school, because of their sexual orientation or the way they express their gender identity.

    “We must finally enact a federal hate crimes law to ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are protected against violent, bias-motivated crimes. We must send a unified message that hate-based crime will not be tolerated.”

    Please post Obama’s response to this horrible hate crime.

  20. I don’t get how this is not obvious: 8 years of Hillary with Obama as vice-president, then 8 years of Obama as president – booking the White House solid for 16 years for the Democrats. Doesn’t that make the most sense all-round?

    As for aging: I think a lot of younger gay guys are not used to dealing with and older generation as unfortunately the first AIDS killed a lot of them and the rest seems to have withdrawn from the gay scene for the most part. But a new and very visible generation is going through their forties now and shows no sign of withdrawing, so I think the visible age ranges in the gay scene will get wider.

  21. Kenny says:

    As I approach forty, I don’t find it daunting. I think that my biggest crisis era was my 30’s with a divorce, new public identity, custody battle and establishment of a healthy relationship. I’m sure greater problems could arise, but I look at the next decade in my life to be one of value and change. Thanks Louis for your insights about age and aging. By keeping balanced perspective on what we can do and what we want, age never is more than a number and expectations don’t have to be lowered. Now, if I could just get Jude Law to engage in idle banter while Prince O∫+> and Celine Dion debut a new duet as I fill in for Jay Leno, everything would be P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

  22. More Louis! More Louis!

    : )


  23. My favorite episode of 2008. I love the thought-provoking topics. Thank you Louis Weisberg! Although I am only 33, some of my best friends have been from their 50’s to their 80’s. Everyone has been a treasure. Anybody who avoids anyone over 25 is missing out!

  24. brian says:

    And here is a Statement From Barack Obama on the death of Lawrence King:

    “It was heartbreaking to learn about Lawrence King’s death, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. King’s senseless death is a tragic example of the corrosive effect that bigotry and fear can have in our society. It’s also an urgent reminder that we need to do more in our schools to foster tolerance and an acceptance of diversity; that we must enact a federal hate crimes law that protects all LGBT Americans; and that we must recommit ourselves to becoming active and engaged parents, citizens and neighbors, so that bias and bigotry cannot take hold in the first place. We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all.“

  25. Zoomer says:

    Another thought-provoking show to be sure.
    I have to laugh when people talk about “approaching 40” as if they’re getting old. 50’s the new 30, right Doug?
    I’ve been a Barack supporter all along, though I am concerned about his lack of experience and “network,” which Hillary does have. But I’m just not sure I trust Hillary. I think the gay marriage question is a poor litmus test for any candidate, because there are just way too many ignorant (from the highly educated to the rednecks) straight people out there. To say you’re for gay marriage is political suicide. These politicians are treading on very thin ice. What I’m hoping is that once they’re in, they’ll have the balls to do more than they promised and move us beyone civil unions, don’t ask don’t tell, etc. But until they get in, I think they still need to be careful. Sad but true. But if we’ve learned anything from the Bush era, it’s that once you’re in office, you can do whatever the fuck you want and not get impeached! So I’m hopeful!

  26. bowdownza says:

    it is funny that Fausto brought up Madonna as a point of reference for coveted youth…Madonna is 49 years old!!

  27. DL says:

    A very good show. Loved it. I think the guest should make these records more aware out there in the media about Obama’s records. For for the first time, I hear a straight report on Obama’s records. The media is very much in love with Obama now and he does no wrong…

    Great show as always!!!

  28. Fishsauce says:

    Loved loved LOVED this show. It’s so refreshing to discuss other aspects of our community such as aging and maturing in a youth-dominated culture. I really appreciate Louis’s honesty and articulate arguments. FoF must have him back!

  29. Nathan says:

    This topic and show had so much potential.. thank you for Louis for being on the show! Growing old can be fabulous, with wisdom and good maintenance… who doesn’t like a hot silverfox!?

    However, about half of the show was not about this topic. I don’t mind a show about Hillary Clinton, er, “the election,” so have a show about that… which would have been great a few weeks ago before the major primaries began. I fast-forward through most of the show to get to more topic-related discussion. I agree that access to good health care makes a big difference in growing older graciously, but I’m afraid Hillary Clinton, er, “the election” isn’t the way to address that in one’s day-to-day life.

    My friends here have spoken my mind in terms of this being blatantly biased towards Sen. Clinton.

    Try again on this topic… and check the politics at the door.

  30. Curtis says:

    I think politics are important and a legit topic on the show. I encourage it. I have to say though that I thought this episode was a real hatchet job on Obama. It\’s was unrelentingly negative about him, giving him absolutely no credit for his record or accomplishments, or dedication to public service. He\’s talked about in the episode almost like he\’s our enemy. Obama is dragged across the coals for not supporting Gay Marriage, but no mention that Hillary\’s got the less progressive view of the two. Hillary may have worked to stop the FMA, but she did not take a position of leadership on Gay marriage – If Obama is wrong then Hillary\’s position is a failure and betrayal to our community in my book. You can\’t have Obama be a failure on this issue without confronting Hillary\’s own bad record. He rails against Obama for perceived negativity towards Hillary, when the Clinton campaign has been sharply focused on negativity for the last two weeks.

    Fausto in regards to negativity in the media \”those words do have consequences\”. I felt like this episode was a big Fuck You to Obama. I know that you\’re Clinton supporters, and I have no issue with us having choices in the primary, but Obama may very well be our candidate and putting out these rather unfair negative statements about him just feels like we are shitting on someone who is really our ally – not perfect – but really our ally. I think it\’s possible to discuss the reasons we prefer one of these two imminently qualified candidates over the other without acting as though either of them are our enemies, or that either of them is not qualified.

    It just felt really unbalanced and unfair.

    Let\’s remember who are enemies really are.

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