90-year-old Don Middleton recently sat down with Pink Planet to talk about growing up gay in rural Canada, including having sexual trysts local farm boys and discovering Ontario’s gay community in the 1940s.
Middleton said he first started experimented sexually with other males when he was 12 or 13, but it wasn’t until he was in his mid 20s that he learned there was a whole “gay world” out there.
“I actually came out to knowing about the gay world when I was 24 by a younger man telling me where to go and cruise,” Middleton recalls.
That’s when he learned about all the other gay guys out there, and how to identify them.
“In hindsight, I think I had pretty good gaydar because I only got one black eye in my lifetime for making a move on somebody,” he says.
First of all, he looks damned good for 90! This is a really interesting short interview, to learn how life was like in the past, how we survived, got around and met one another. The coming of age in a different time. Society is so much different today.
This really makes me appreciate our progress and why we need to fight to keep it.
Conservatives are now claiming that not being able to discriminate against gay people is the same as religious persecution. They love to talk about it in terms of bakers and gay weddingd, but they want to allow medical professionals to refuse treatment to anyone they suspect is gay as well. We can’t let this argument win, because it will lead directly to preventable deaths.
Very well said.
Today, #metoo-ers would say he was sexually victimized by the sex for protection with the town lug. Or that he didn’t ask for consent from those guys he moved on. (Only one black eye! lol.) Glad he wasn’t having any of that.
You really don’t understand anything, do you?
Why exactly is it that regressives like you actually want to be put back in the closet?
Why do you think your ignorance of, and distaste for social progress is shared by more than about 35% of the dullest of folks (10 to 15% of gay folks)?
People’s with brains would acknowledge that we are safer and more enfranchised as a result of the efforts of progressives. You, by contrast, long for the days when you would be spit on by the folks you idolize, and denigrate those who actually made your life easier.
If you have the ability, learn to think.
“Boys Like Us” is an excellent collection of coming-of-age and coming-out stories by gay men of all ages. It’s presented chronologically, so the stories from the 40s/50s are first, and it ends in the 90s. I’d read more anthologies like that if they existed!
This was very interesting, too bad it was so short. Seems like he would have a lot of history to share!
While it’s amazing for the era that he only got one black eye, no one should ever be beaten for just asking someone out.
Fabulous Fabulous and this is why even at 68 I enjoy meeting older gay gentleman who like to tell tales about their past….and I’m betting Don has quite a few stories he could tell. Thank You for sharing sir!
Don is a dear friend of mine. I just last week offered a eulogy at his partners (65 years together) funeral. There is SO MUCH more to their story that is historical and fascinating and sexy! They made a video when they were the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade on their 50th anniversary at the GLBTQ Archives in Toronto. And Don is still a faithful regular attendee and parishioner at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto!
Hello Rev James. I am part of the team who produced this video. Yes, there were so many fascinating elements to Don’s story we decided to create several videos, like chapters instead of just one super long video. We interviewed him for hours as he spoke candidly of his life and felt an on-going series would serve the story better. More stories to follow shortly, including stories about his partner Clayton. Stay tuned for more.
For 90 this guy looks and sounds great. Still sharp as a tack and eloquent. I can’t imagine how bad it was in the 1940’s even in the late 1960’s police would do bullshit raids on gay bars and beat up people and toss them in jail for no reason. I’d love to hear more from this guy not many around only 5% of the population make it to 90.
Try getting there video interview at the LGBTQ Archives of Toronto. It is really fascinating.
There format of this interview is very annoying. Ask the questions and stop with the shitty music. What’s up with the censoring, also very annoying.
use forrie’s comment . Another way to comment on his appearance is to say ” he looks great AND he is 90 ) (I am 90 and we all look freT.
I’m an 86 year old gay man who grew up in London and lived an active sex life in the 1950s.
Although sex between men was illegal in England until 1967, I remember gay clubs in Soho and gay pubs like the Bolton’s and the Colherne where we congregated, picked up and ‘copped off’ with impunity.
There was(and still is) a gay bar in Hampstead where many famous people met. I remember being introduced to the famous American composer, Aron Copland, who unfortunately was more interested in my partner of the time.
And of course there was always the infamous Hampstead Heath, a beauty spot by day, but by night a rather dangerous (from gay bathers or the occasional police raid) but exciting for those reasons.
There was talk of police entrapment in ‘cottages’ but I remember meeting a young policeman in the showers of Swiss Cottage swimming pool who wasn’t there to arrest but was very willing to ‘play’.
The fifties were a time, at least for me of disgraceful though enormormously enjoyable behaviour.
Well goodums goodums for you.
This was a great interview. I definitely would love to hear more of his stories of the past. I would to sit down and pick his or any elderly gentleman brain on the history of homosexuality. Also as a black man, I know the past history would probably horrible. Being gay and also black, I know it was a hard time. I wonder how it was up in Canada though.
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