Suicide Of Self-Help Therapist Raises The Gloomy Specter Of Gay Men And Aging

On Saturday, The New York Times ran a belated obituary of sorts for well-known Manhattan therapist Bob Bergeron, who committed suicide in January at age 49. Though every death is tragic, what made his so alarming was that Bergeron was about to see his self-help book, The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond, hit bookstores.

And yet, Bergeron was despondent about growing older.

Olivier Van Doorne, a patient of Mr. Bergeron and the creative director of SelectNY, a fashion advertising firm, recalled Mr. Bergeron telling him that every gay man peaks at one point in his life.

“He said a number of times: ‘I peaked when I was 30 or 35. I was super-successful, everyone looked at me, and I felt extremely cool in my sexuality.’”

When friends discovered Bergeron in his apartment, suffocated with a plastic bag over his head, they also found a suicide note, in which he called the title of the book “a lie based on bad information.”

Getting older is the elephant in the room for the gay-male community, so often fixated on youth and physical vitality. An entire generation assumed they’d never have to face old age and its indignities, sure they’d succumb to AIDS before Father Time. We’re well enough along this thing called life to have to confront the issue ourselves and, while its no picnic, we think we’re moving along gracefully.

Bergeron was good-looking and successful, with a loving family and many friends. He had ended a serious relationship three years ago but was often described as relentlessly cheerful. And he seemed to have solved the mystery of how to find joy in life when the bloom falls off the rose. It’s impossible to know if Bergeron believed in his philosophy at the time, was trying to convince himself or, perhaps, was just trying to sell a bill of goods.

On his website, he wrote:

By my thirties, with close to a decade of experience as an openly gay man, I now had more confidence and comfort in navigating my gay world.  Then I turned forty, and with getting older all the rules changed again.  By cruel irony, I now again began feeling less secure around men – younger gay men and even many gay men my age or older.

When I learned new ways to relate with gay men, I returned to the confidence of my thirties but with less cockiness and more civility.  As a result while quickly approaching the right side of fifty, I can say with deep sincerity: this is the best time of my life!

Clearly that wasn’t the case.

We’re gonna turn it around to you, Queerty readers. Are you anxious about getting older? Have you found peace and happiness in midlife? Share your story in the comments.


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  • John

    No one knows what this guys issues were to begin with. This article kinda makes it seem like we’re ALL going to experience this. Some people who were raised properly with good heads on their shoulders should be comfortable in their own skin. And on a personal note, I’ve never really met a shrink that wasnt totally insane. Think about it, you’re going to build a career based on helping others cope with their issues? Most shrinks I’ve met in non clinical settings were completely insane…and they were gay/straight/male/female.

  • J Ascher

    Can’t do anything about aging! It’s inevitable. The best way to handle it is to live one day at a time and don’t worry about what others think of your age.

  • Mark

    So he was a therapist who handled “well-to-do gays” and “those with AIDS” but he couldn’t handle himself that he wasn’t 24. The title of your piece shows that you have the preconceived notion you expect to “gloom” as you age.

    Blanche: Well, for the first time in my life I feel like I’m over forty!
    Dorothy: You know why that is, Blanche?
    Blanche: No, why?
    Dorothy: Because you’re over fifty.

  • pedro

    No family life, equals no true joy (especially in old age). If gays don’t learn to build real intact families and instead choose to put all their eggs in the body-beautiful and partying basket, they eventually turn into pathetic lecherous old men making a spectacle of themselves, while trying to keep younger men as company…Or the male version of the cat lady. I know many gay men love to scream the alarm about heteronormative sell outs, but the circuit parties and easy tricks can’t last forever.

  • I get it

    I’m well-respected in work, live modestly but comfortably, generally seen as cheery and friendly, but my personal life is nil. I haven’t dated or “dated” in months. And, although new acquaintances often think I’m much younger than my 45 years, I am keenly aware of my vanishing hair, increasing wrinkles, generally limp dick, and the fact that “under 40” is on the requirements list for so many gay men, including those older than I am, and living in the first state in the U.S. to permit gay marriage only seems to magnify the anxiety I feel about being alone. Sites designed for gay men–including, perhaps particularly Queerty–constantly remind me of how thoughtless, uncaring, and unaccepting we, as a group, can be. My last remaining close friend recently moved away and I’ve never been comfortable in bars, so I’m clueless as to how to meet people or make friends.

    The only differences between me and Bergeron are that he was much better looking, much more successful, and actually had the balls to get off the merry-go-round.

  • Muleskinner

    I’m not so sure about this stereotype. After I let my hair go gray, I am getting a lot more attention from guys. As for Bergeron, he apparently had some other issues under the surface besides the age thing.

  • MikeE

    I have no sympathy for a coward who took the “easy way out”, particularly over an issue as superficial and unimportant as “aging”.

    Was he physically ill? Was he in chronic pain?

    I think he’s pathetic. Sorry. To kill yourself because you’re approaching 50 is just stupid.

    I got married at 47, I’m 50 as of a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t be happier with the “gay” part of my life. I’m certainly not obsessing over 20-year olds, nor do I feel threatened by the mere fact that they are 20 and I am no longer. Don’t worry, give them a couple of years… they won’t BE 20 anymore.

    And here on Queerty, how often have we read comments from obvious “young’uns” about how some commenter is a (insert adjective) “old queen”? I wouldn’t go back to being 20 again even if it were offered to me. 20-year olds are stupid, despite thinking they know it all.

  • Bob

    I will be 60 in a few months and am still having the time of my life!

  • Mark

    ““He said a number of times: ‘I peaked when I was 30 or 35. I was super-successful, everyone looked at me, and I felt extremely cool in my sexuality.’”

    “….everyone looked at me…..”
    Well I consider myself non-suicidal if not satisfied at age 50 and I don’t even think once I ever would have said in my life that “everyone looked at me”. It’s never pretty for former prom kings and homecoming queens and I guess former party social circuit boys, to age. When the bartender at a gay bar calls you “sir” I guess you can smile or run home an put a plastic bag over your head.

  • Gigi

    Some of the comments here are incredibly mean-spirited hurtful, to both Mr. Bergeron and to those those of us who’ve struggled (and continue to struggle) with chronic depression. I once found myself on a bridge debating whether or not to jump. Thankfully I didn’t. Life did get a lot better for me. It doesn’t for everyone.

    It broke my heart to read the NYT article on Mr. Bergeron. The story the article didn’t tell is what made me cry and kept me up all night contemplating my own fears about dying. In spite of the fact that I have an amazing man whom I’ve been with for 23 glorious years, the love and support of both our families and a great circle of friends (a few very close and many acquaintances), I think about death a lot now. It scares the hell out of me. I can totally understand why some people – gay or not – try desperately to slow the hands of time. Or in some cases, pretend that death is approaching for others but not them. There’s a great deal of lip-service given to the Gay Community about our Youth Cult, the parties, the drugs, the gym memberships and the steroids, but straight people are just as obsessed as we are about looking youthful.

    I hope that Mr. Bergeron’s family and friends are able to heal and deal with his loss. By all accounts it sounds as though he was a lovely man, both outside and in.

  • Jose

    When you base your existance on looks alone, how “hot” you are to others etc – its a recipe for misery. I’m 49, not the best looking, rather chubby, not “super successful ” but I have a wonderful family and great small group of friends. I don’t have a perfect life but I’m doing ok with my life. I see too many older gay men unsuccessfully attempting to regain youth thru bad plastic surgery, steroid abuse and dressing ridiculously like 20 year olds. Gay men need to stop obsessing about being perfect.

  • Dave

    I don’t think the view of the over 50 crowd being “invisible” is limited to the gay set. This is obvious from discrimination in employment across the board for anyone over 45 unless your already on a permanent career path. among many other indicators. The country if not the world is youth based. One can do market research on advertising and buying trends as just another indicator of this.
    I do agree it can be particularly difficult for a gay man to face the later decades of life.
    But this is probable amplified if you isolate yourself inside of the gay community alone.
    I do agree with the comments that most of the therapists I have met are just as fckd up as I am if not much more including ones Ive dated.

  • jason

    The problem for exclusively gay men is that their lives are based on a monotonous pattern of parties, dance clubs, and appearance. It truly is a recipe for depression once you age and you no longer fit the scene. Also, when you relate to men in a primarily sexual way, it’s a very narrow way of going about your life. You become hostage to the appearance fascism and youth fascism of the sexual paradigm. There’s no escaping it unless you are very strong-willed and creative.

    With bisexual men or straight men, the option of having children injects a new lease of life into you. Your children make you young. The appearance fascism of the gay male community doesn’t hold sway over you. Your life’s pursuits involve the betterment of another person – ie your child.

    Personally, I think the gay male scene has a lot to answer for.

  • tom

    Sad, Sad , Story. If you are under 40 and reading this let me give you a little advice. Being gay is not anymore about how you look and how much sex you have than it is for straight people. If you want to be happy as a human being you need what everyone needs.. friends or family. At 50 I am happier than I have every been in my life. I did not fully accept my being gay until I was 30 and then I spent a few years playing the same lonley bar games as everyone does in our so called community. I met a man at 35 who I fell in Love with and we were lucky enough to adopt our daughter when I was 45. I have never been a social person and was always very self concious in the bar scene so i worried I would be alone for ever. Yes,I do understand how lucky I am and that not everyone is going to be so lucky, but you have to make the effort. There are many ways to meet people and make friends. Community groups , gay friendly places of worship, volunteer groups , hell even classifieds can help you find platonic friends. THE KEY IS YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE EFFORT. I know now that the one thing I was looking for my entire was a family that is truly mine ,a family and friends that know me and love me for who I am have made my life truly satisfying. If your under 30 and reading this take this story as a cautionary tale all beauty fades, bars and clubs become old fast, and older gay men are not all trolls that want in your pants( some could actually be your friends if you are open to it) Life is too long for all of us to focus on the 20 percewnt of it that we live between 18-30, there is sooo much after that and if you aren’t ready for it it will kick your pretty little ass.

  • ptboat

    Sometimes, when I read articles and headlines on this site, I wonder if I’m not reading a NOM blog, or something from FRC, or the AFA. This obviously troubled man’s suicide is no harbinger for anything to do with the gay community at large. +

    The idea that 49 is somehow a gloomy, decrepit old age for gay men is positively absurd. Indeed, it is now included in many definitions of the middle age for humans; however, that’s not the point. The title of the article, and certainly lines like this, “Getting older is the elephant in the room for the gay-male community…,” are straight out of the handbook of anti-gay handbooks. The truth is far from that. Certainly, the party scene is a youth culture, just as that scene is for heterosexuals, but it is not representative of gay life as a whole. The devastation of the AIDS crisis hit in the very early years of the liberation from most, but certainly not all, criminal persecution of gay people which, incidentally, directly coincided with the sexual revolution as a whole. Perhaps this did force many men to consider the ultimate solitude of a life lived for immediate pleasure and to form bonds, but these bonds had been established among men long before the early 80s as is evidenced from new diary releases and the coming out of previously private, long term couples who’ve been together 50+ years. One could also argue that the push for marriage rights is a result of watching so many men lose everything as greedy, homophobic families swooped in to take the possessions of their recently lost partners. Even still, it is also a sign that men want to make bonds and create a family and that those bonds and families already exist, as you can easily see by all of the testimonies, in these comment sections, by people who’ve been together for long periods of time, including my 20 with my husband. Aging, for gay men, is no different than aging for anyone else, save for homophobia and other preconceptions about gay men. Believe it or not, there are lots of people who find older men attractive, including older men.

    The biggest, and most real, gloom and doom situation for gay men is in the field of elder care. Often, older men are placed in homes in which either the staff, the population, or both are homophobic. These men are frequently taken from their partners, due to the lack of both legal and social recognition of the bond, and are left in a world where they are without the companionship that they once enjoyed, but find themselves obligated to return to the unfulfilling, closeted existence of their past. This is a real crisis of aging as a gay man, and it is one that needs to be ended institutionally, but is also one that has nothing to do with a “lifestyle.”

    Many who write self help books are trying to slay their own demons. Mr. Bergeron was unable to keep his own at bay. This is a personal tragedy, but is certainly no harbinger of the ills of being a gay man.

    Full story here:

  • adam

    this man’s sad, sad death is also a morbid joke of a book, ironically titled and miraculously timed to coincide with his suicide. one wonders what the thoughts are of the publishers who had invested in him. can’t you just hear it now: “did you hear the one about the author of the book on aging gracefully in the gay community. . . ?”

    seriously, though, i stopped for a beer at a gay bar sunday afternoon, and two forty-something men, both of whom were celebrating birthdays, were toasting a third man, who was there to celebrate his eighty-second birthday. i bought a round and we chatted about now-defunct gay places in town, about changes in attitudes toward gays since the fifties, and just about how amazing it was one of us had made it to 80 and was still, a little worse for wear, going strong.

    that some nyc, provincetown, and l.a. queens, who have too much money in the first place, are trying to use botox and psycho-therapy to cling to youth, still doesn’t mean that we’ve all refused to age gracefully. ~peace

  • averageguy40

    When we realize it isn’t about us but about others, that’s when the true happiness begins. When you start to give back or pay it forward you will find life is so much better. If you just soak in what is in it for you, life becomes very grimm. A sponge can only hold so much water. So sad Mr. Bergeron didn’t figure it out soon enough.

  • Noel

    I turned 50 last November. I’ve always been and continue to be taken for someone 10 years younger. That being said, I’ve noticed the slightly sagging eyes, more lines on the face, the fact that gravity has taken hold of my torso and wont let go and as far as the employment sector goes, just got let go from my 2.5 year old job last week. Am I depressed? Sometimes. Do I want to kill myself because I’m not in my peak 30’s? Absolutely not. Do I need therapy? Probably. When we were in our 30’s we felt like we had the world at our doorstep, and endless income, our youth and health. Reality is, we don’t have it forever. Let the 20 and 30 somethings have their days. They’ll be blogging about their age and all the problems with facing 50 soon enough. Its sad that Mr. Bergeron felt he couldn’t cope with being 40 and fabulously sexy. I guess he didn’t listen well enough to his patients to learn that the 40’s were actually the new 30’s and so on. Yes, I don’t like to admit that I’m the age I am, but when I do I get emabarassingly complimented on how young I seem. Do we actually know what “50” is supposed to look and feel like? Its’ all relative. RIP Mr. Bergeron and RIP to my past youth. I’ve got at least another 20 or so years before I consider being old.

  • the crustybastard

    @MikeE “I have no sympathy for a coward who took the “easy way out”, Was he physically ill? Was he in chronic pain?
    I think he’s pathetic. ”

    Here’s the thing: you DON’T know why he did it. You DON’T know if his note was a smokescreen. But you’re positive he’s a pathetic coward, right?

    Then you decry know-it-alls. Perfect.

    Suicide isn’t an easy way out. It’s the hardest choice a person can make. What is selfish is thinking you have the right to insist that another live in misery.

    You’ve got some growing up to do.

  • Johnny

    Sad story.

    Anyone mocking this guy should be ashamed of themselves.
    Unless you know Bob personally, you have no idea what was really going on with him when he decided to kill himself. Both Queerty and the NYtimes seem to speculate that he was depressed because he was getting older. OK, yes, some of his comments seem to support this idea, but no one can say for sure whether that was actually the reason he killed himself. For someone to feel that desperate and despondent, there is usually something larger (chemical/clinical) going on.

    Yes the gay community does idealize youth in some ways, but so does society at large. I agree with many commenters here that you have to find fulfillment in other parts of your life–your friends and family are most important, spend time cultivating these relationships because they will be what lasts. Stop obsessing over what you look like because you will never be 21 years old unless you are 21 years old, and, really, who wants to be, when you can be a HOT confident older guy like Bob should have been with his looks.

  • James Light

    @Gigi: Thank You for this thoughtful response!

  • the other Greg

    Anyone who falls into the “all gay men” style of generalizing gets into trouble. Judging from the picture, plenty of 50-ish gay guys would be thrilled to have his looks. But there are plenty of gay men over 50 who don’t even think a lot about aging. I won’t over-generalize by saying that MOST of them have partners; maybe most of them do (and I wonder how depressed I’d be if I didn’t have one) but I know several who don’t and say they don’t yearn for that.

    Interestingly, I think an ability to compartmentalize can be a GOOD thing here; so much of gay mens’ emotional support can come from non-sexual friends, including women. And casual (safer) sex can stay fun for a loooong time with the right attitude (I realize some puritanical Queerty posters will faint at this notion!). Contrast this to straight people, who tend to put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak – spend 99% of their time with their spouse, meddle in their adult children’s lives, etc. because that is how “normal” straight people are supposed to be.

    I agree with Mark #9 that Bergeron fits the aging prom queen/football star/circuit boy mold. Re: “everyone looked at me…..,” well everyone looked at me when I was in my 20s (I was cute) but it made me extremely uncomfortable! I didn’t have the personality for it, felt threatened all the time by all the predatory monsters out there, & almost died of a drug overdose. Meanwhile most of my close platonic friends were dying of AIDS. I even got a little fat for a few years (kind of “subconsciously/on purpose”) so the predators would leave me the fuck alone for awhile. Naw, I don’t remember my 20s as good times. Finally @ pushing 40, everything started to seem much more manageable & made sense. I got back in shape and finally started feeling happy. The removal of the “Sword of Damocles” with effective HIV drugs, no doubt helped with this because at last we could make new friends (non-sexual or sexual) without the fear they might get sick & die within a few months, which is probably not remarked upon as much as it should be.

    @I get it: I feel for you – I love Massachusetts & New England in general but it’s not the most outgoing, friendly area. Think about answering (or putting in) an ad for a platonic friend, someone to share an activity with, walking, museums etc. – maybe you’re not all that close to Boston but could volunteer at Boomerangs (thrift store) or Pride events, also see & subscribe to the list. Best wishes.

  • Stace

    Suicide is a medical situation compounded by numerous exigencies. Only the person who has committed suicide can tell you why they have done it. Often there is a pre-existing mental health issue, either mental illness or a personality disorder. We would never say a person was a coward for succumbing to the effects of cancer. He needed medical intervention, help he didn’t get. That is what is tragic, not any supposed “reasons” for his life taking.

  • Colin

    As a gay man in his late 40s, I find myself adrift and alone in a world full of young vibrant people. Most of my closest friends have passed away already – an experience most str8 people don’t contend with until later life. Unpartnered by choice, with a full career behind me, a good position in a developing company and lots of attention from very sexy guys, I am dreading 50 and I don’t know why. I don’t know many guys my age who survived the 80s/90s so isolation and PTS must have something to do with it.

  • Bigg

    @I Get It – I do too. I am not and never was any of the things that so many commenters here have disparaged: a circuit queen, always hooking up, any of that stuff. I was married to a woman until I was 38, and it was only a near call with esophageal cancer that made me wake up and realize that the only way I would ever really be happy was to live my life for and about myself. I am now partnered with a wonderful man – he’s much younger than I am & doesn’t seem to mind my age at all! – and now we’ve been together for four years. No matter what happens next, I have been blessed to have him in my life.
    With that said, I too fear the last part of my life. There are no certainties, and the prospect of ending up alone & despised by men whose only difference from me is their age is nothing I’d want to stick around for either. I hope never to walk in Mr. Bergeron’s shoes, but I can see all too easily how it could happen.
    Oh, and P.S. to Pedro – f*ck you. You should write for NOM or Focus On The Family.

  • pedro

    @Bigg: Wow, I think you need anger management…Please explain to me what I have said to deserve your wrath.

  • timncguy

    @Bigg: Wow…. first you make sure to tell us that your partner is so much younger than you. Then you explain that your fear of aging is related to younger men not wanting to socialize with you.

    If you aren’t interested in relating to men your own age, why would you expect anyone else to be?

  • ptboat

    @Colin: I think this is the same angst, sans the 80s/90s AIDS experiences, that heterosexuals who have chosen to stay single and devoted to their careers face. Haven’t you made friends since the height of the crisis?

    What I wonder is that there are so many men and women who chose to be alone and devote themselves to career, but who get older and, upon retiring or semi-retiring, find that there is a whole different life out there, full of interesting people and interesting things to do. Considering that we are only a few years apart in age, I am curious that you say that you feel alone and isolated, although I absolutely take what you’re saying at face value and understand that you are. Still, whenever I hear someone saying this, I am left to wonder if it isn’t the venues in which the person takes him or herself. I find that there are plenty of people our age, both gay and straight, who are fun to be around and, while I certainly am not one to wish for youth or to look young, I feel anything but old. Having said that, I meet people through volunteerism and involvement in the community at large. Maybe that’s a difference. It could also be geography or some other difference, but is am still left wondering if this isolation has more to do with personality and life choices than with sexual orientation and that they can’t be changed.

  • Grrrowler

    Am I anxious about getting older? Who isn’t? No one wants to get old, be they gay or straight. But, the two options are get older or be dead. I’d rather remain in a 30 year old body and continue to add knowledge and wisdom, but that’s just not possible. OK, maybe if I wanted to pull a Joan Rivers it would be, but I don’t want to do that.

    I’ll be 44 this year, and for about a year after I turned 40 I started seeing myself as “old”. Then I spent a week with my 75 year old mother and realized that even at that age, she’s not old. Yeah, time and gravity have taken some toll, but she’s more active than many 35 year-olds I know. I realized I was being stupid feeling old at such an early age, and woke up.

    I know I’m not as attractive to a lot of younger gay men, but I really don’t care. When I was in my 20s I was considered very “cute” and had lots of fans at the bars. I thought that was great, for a while. It’s nice to get that ego boost, but then I realized that the attention was hollow. The attention only lasted until the next hottest guy walked by, and then it was gone. Luckily I learned quickly that it didn’t mean anything to be attractive to people who only saw what was on the surface and didn’t care about the real me. At this stage in life, my attitude is that if someone is only interested in me because I fit a prescribed list of physical attributes, I have no desire to be around that person. If someone doesn’t find me attractive for who I am and not what I look like, fuck ’em.

    I know plenty of 50 and 60 year old gay men who have very happy and fulfilling lives, and they don’t need 20-something gay boys to validate them. It’s sad that the notion of validation only through being seen as sexy by a certain part of the population is still so prevalent.

  • hunnylvr

    @John: That’s a bit of a cynical, not to mention untrue, comment. My partner is a therapist, and she’s a damn good one. She tells it like it is, and she’s helped a lot of people. She’s FAR from “insane”. Generalize much? Of course there are going to be therapists who have problems, but that’s not any different than the normal ratio of people in any profession who have problems. It’s a human issue, not a professional one. Sounds like maybe the idea of introspection and mindfulness scares you a bit.

    As for the actual story here.. it’s just sad. It is heartbreaking to me that people base so much of their self-worth on such superficial crap or what other people think of them. Frankly, if I was only exposed to people who shunned or criticized me for my age or anything equally superficial, I’d have to question my own judgment and choices of friends. Life is too short to spend it with insecure, petty, shitty people. There is a lot of love in the world, but you have to be able to leave behind those who don’t know how to share it.

  • FunMe

    It doesn’t matter what age you are, but true happiness is inside and enjoying life without trying to confine to what other people think. After all, we are all spirit/souls having a physical experience. And even if you live to be 100, it really is a short time.

    Sad about this guy. But then, this is very telling:

    ““I looked at his Facebook page recently,” said Steven Wice of New York, who knew Mr. Bergeron for more than a decade. “He had over a thousand friends. But there are acquaintances and there are friends, and I think he probably had a lot of acquaintances and not a lot of real friends.”

  • FunMe

    @Gigi: By the way, I don’t think the guy was suffering from depression. But who knows, maybe he never had it treated at all?
    “Here, they say, was a guy with seemingly everything to live for: good looks, a condo in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, semi-annual trips to Europe, parents who adored him and absolutely no history of clinical depression.”

  • Times2

    I’m 62 and I’ve been self-conscious about my age all my life. I freaked out with every decade’s change, beginning at 30. I’ve refused to state my age ever since then. Now, I look back and hearing people moan about turning 40 seems absurd to me. And yet I still won’t state my age and I get angry if anyone who knows it dares say it aloud.

    This is partly about appearance, which I took for granted. I never paid much attention to my looks until after 50, when I could see them fading. Mainly, though, my lifelong dread of aging has to do with feeling I never accomplished a lot. Looking back, I can say that I’ve had an adventurous life, but I did not make practical choices. I have no retirement savings. I’m lucky to have a wonderful partner of 20 years who has been practical, but not enough so to support us both.

    I’ve also suffered “treatment-resistant depression” most of my life and have been suicidal more than once.

    Now, here’s the thing: I’m a shrink/coach. Yep. I’ve had two careers, but psychological work (with a totally poor but mainly intellectual population) has been my work the last 22 years. It’s a cliche, but it’s absolutely true that many people enter the field out of a wish to understand themselves better and help others. As everyone knows, psychiatrists have a shockingly high suicide rate.

    Bob Bergeron, at least in these eulogy stories, comes off as utterly obsessed with the whole subject of aging and looks — in his personal life as well as his professional life. But nowhere in the stories does he seem to acknowledge his own obvious misery over this. That would be a difference between the two of us. As insane as my refusal to state my age is, I’ve written about it publicly numerous times. I own my craziness over it and I don’t suggest to anyone that it can be “fixed.” Ageism is an absolute reality in this culture and you’re going to experience it and it’s going to hurt, no matter how “enlightened” and happily married you are. When you displease someone, the words “old queen” will often erupt, no matter how you look.

    I’d like to note one very strange difference in my experience and Bob’s — or at least in what Bob said. The very fact of poor fathering and mentoring of gay men has produced a widespread “daddy” fetish. I’m far from alone in experiencing this. But I’m not interested, remotely, in coupling sexually or otherwise with someone half (or more) my age. So, I do not agree that intergenerational, MUTUAL attraction isn’t common. How emotionally gratifying it is generally, I don’t know. (I know it sometimes is.) But it certainly fuels the obsession with youth.

    Finally, let’s remind ourselves that Bob Bargeron’s social and professional circle was urban, upper-middle-class (if not wealthy) men. The disguise of youth — plastic surgery and such — is more accessible to them, as is therapy. Most of the older gay population is compelled to confront the mirror without illusion.

  • MEJ

    I’m just waiting for my parents to pass away, so I can finally kill myself.

    I’m going to be 39 in two days, and I have nothing to show for my life except caring for my parents for the past 20 years. Both my brothers are dead, and my sisters only come around when they want something.

    Because of agoraphobia, and social anxiety, I didn’t work for over 10 years. When I got better and wanted to work, I couldn’t get a job. The only money I make is buying vintage fountain pens, repairing them, and selling them on eBay.

    I have no friends, and I’ve never dated anyone. To be truthful, the only physical contact I’ve ever had with anyone, are handshakes. I’ve been alone for so long, I can’t imagine dating, or having friends.

    Sometimes I’m afraid of death, but that’s only because if I die, no one will take good care of my parents. But when I think that I can control how, and when I will die, that fear disappears.

    Considering my parents are both healthy, even though they can’t care for themselves anymore, I’m fairly certain I’m going to have to wait another 10-15 years before I can finally die. That is what really depresses me–I can’t handle another decade, or two of my life, but I have to.

  • Maury D

    With bisexual men or straight men, the option of having children injects a new lease of life into you. Your children make you young. The appearance fascism of the gay male community doesn’t hold sway over you. Your life’s pursuits involve the betterment of another person – ie your child.

    Oh this is just the most infuriating false dichotomy. Kids are not the entire point of all our lives, and not wanting them doesn’t mean you’re out somewhere weeping at a dance club over your fallen pecs. There are other meaningful pursuits, including jobs that work toward the betterment of the lives of others. This stress on traditional family structures and childbearing as a moral imperative is at once sentimental and ugly and, if only by implication, it’s quite homophobic. Makes me long for the bad old days when we were oppressed but at least we weren’t (internally) so apologetic for any perceived deviation from the mainstream.

  • michael

    This is the problem with gay culture. It is so youth oriented that being 30 is considered ancient. Well I see more and more depression and suicides in the future if things don’t change. By the way I am 56 and happily “married” to my hubby of 14 years.

  • Callum

    Well lest see, I am a gay man who recently turned 65. The majority of my friends I had when I was in my mid 20’s to mid 30’s are now all dead. AIDS I have had three long term, mostly monogamous, marriages. I retained a great friendship with each of those three men. All three are now dead. Two of them died this past year. Both from non-AIDS related medical problems. About ten years ago I moved to a very rural part of the Mid West, way out in the Country! I live alone on a few acres, in a modest and paid for cabin, have a couple of old and faithful dogs, have a local widow who comes by and cleans my home three times a week, and have as a BFF a straight cowboy, in his 40’s, who actually cares about me! He owns a ranch about 5 miles distant. He finds time to mow my yard and pasture, to help me plant and harvest a large vegetable garden, to share his freezer beef with me, and he also finds time to take care of his own sons, a grand kid and a somewhat recent new wife and his parents who are 15 years my senior. His name could easily be Ennis DelMar. I am completely comfortable in my current situation, Yes, it could be better, I could have a live-in lover, and there are some things I do miss from my past life in San Francisco and NYC. Mostly the small shops with interesting art, food or kitsch. Yet here I find endless diversions, things Thoreau would have cherished. The frogs and catfish and bass in the nearby pond. The call of a hoot owl at night, the yelp of a coyote, the chirp of young chicks. Life is good at 65 and living in the middle of nowhere!

  • LittIe,Kiwi

    the problem is not “being gay and aging” but continuing to hold onto shallow and immature “standards”

    this has nothing to do with “gay culture being shallow” and everything to do with a fully-grown adult caring more about surface aesthetics and image than about human connections.


  • Gigi

    @Times2: I didn’t find it jaw-dropping. I found it sad, knowing that the man who make the video has since taken his own life. Looks were obviously very important to him and he was of the “gay men must take their shirts off to be sexy” mindset. I am not, in spite of the fact that I’m in good shape. Just not me. I have friends who LOVE to take their shirts off every chance they get and they’re not all super buff either. They are comfortable with their looks, which is great.

    I do find it jaw-dropping however that many of us Gays are so quick to judge and condemn others in our community that we can’t relate to. Those who try too hard. Those who don’t try hard enough. Twinks who are too twinkie. Straight-acting (whatever that means) guys.
    Too fem. Too butch. Eyebrows that are over-plucked. Eyebrows that are too bushy. Guy who play sports. Guys who don’t play sports. And on and on. Mr. Bergeron was obviously dealing with some things that overwhelmed him – so much so that he thought that ending his own life was the only solution. This wasn’t just a guy who couldn’t deal with getting older. This was a man who suffered from severe depression and, sadly, couldn’t reach out to get the help that he needed. Let’s not attack him for being a handsome man who took his own life, casting all sorts of aspersions upon him and his legacy. To me, that would be jaw-dropping.

  • Demiel

    @John: It is true that some people are better equipped to deal with this. Also, the successive generations of gay men are also better equipped in the sense that we are living in a time where HIV is survivable for the most part. We have come a long way from the time of this man’s generation and this difference could be all the difference. Only time will tell. I also found it funny that you said that all shrinks are insane. That is relatively valid. As a mental health professional myself, I find that most therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists do indeed have their own set of quirks. I find that entertaining because most often, those quirks are what drove them to the field in the first place. So, your point has validity, but forgive us crazies. We are merely trying to understand the mind, one of the craziest places on Earth.

  • ptboat

    @Callum: Great story. I believe life is about blooming where planted and you certainly are an inspiration in that realm.

  • WillBFair

    One problem for our generation is that many of us are gone from aids. But plenty of us are left, and if there’s community, there’s no reason to even socialize with the ageist crowd.
    Goodness knows, ageist queens are still around. I remember thirty five years ago in the SF clubs listening to my ‘freinds’ laugh at the ‘old trolls’. I looked at them like they were insane and even made a few comments. But it was like water off a duck. The ignorant set are still the same after all these years, and there’s no reason to waste time on them.
    The real issue is that ageism is not the only problem with low gay culture. It’s full of internalized homophobia and totally looksist and heartless, and finding educated and well adjusted freinds is not so easy. But for guys who are comfortable with the mainstream culture, even that’s not a problem.

  • Melanio

    Yes, we all have our issues as we get older. Some more than others. After 2 near death experiences, I have cherished my life but even with a long-term partner who loves me and I love, there are always going to be issues.

    My partner is the optimistic person while I am the pessimistic one who anticipates an uneasy aging gay man. I turn 49 this year and yet my partner who is 57 is more comfortable in this aging process. The good news is that I try to focus on hanging around with younger heterosexual people who appreciate my long-term relationship (24 yrs and probably makes them a bit jealous). My parents celebrated 50 years and because of my own health issues do not foresee that length of a relationship (although we will b together forever despite the small stuff that still hit us once in a while).

    Aging is hard for all but for gay men, it becomes difficult when you are alone and starting over after either a long time relationship or loss. Everyone is different and will be different. Celebrate that and don’t ever compare you or your relationship with others.

  • I get it too

    I get it too.

    I find it sad that Mr. Bergeron is getting mocked and criticized here after his tragic death, often by people who take the opportunity to boast of their long term partnerships or large circles of friends. Well, some of us feel lonely and isolated through no fault of our own, perhaps because of the ending of a long relationship in recent years, or the death or moving away of close friends, and find ourselves to have become largely invisible to the rest of the gay world, despite our efforts to remain in good shape, compounding our sense of isolation. Additionally, compared to the now largely moribund urban gay culture of as recently as the late 90s, the internet-based culture that has replaced it is incredibly isolating. Even for younger gay men, in many cities few if any places remain where we can leave our apartment and go have breakfast or coffee and feel part of a gay community, maybe converse casually with a few people who happen to be there, and so on. Especially for those of us who are now single, our experiences when we try to meet men may lead to the gradual realization that there may never be anyone else for us to be attracted to and love as a partner as we did in the past. If you are in this situation and you don’t feel at least some existential dread, I think there may be something wrong with you.

  • the crustybastard


    That was heartbreaking. You sound like a thoughtful, clever person with interesting skills, and definitely not one of those self-isolating meanspirited pricks that deliberately makes themselves unloveable.

    If you are feeling healthier, have you considered getting out more? Not for the purpose of getting a job, or getting a romantic partner. Just to get out and discover something new to like? Maybe it sounds stupid, but dogs are pretty great. They’re loving and fun, and will force you to get off your butt and out of your rut. I got a dog and started hiking. It’s making me really fit, and we’re having such a good time, others are now starting to join us.

    I’m not saying my way is the right way. I’m just saying that something like what I’m doing might lead to…other, even better things. And you will feel less like you’re just killing time.

    But even if you do still feel like you’re just killing time, you might as well try to enjoy the time you have left. Everyone should try, whether they intend to die naturally or not.

  • FunMe

    @WillBFair: “The ignorant set are still the same after all these years, and there’s no reason to waste time on them.” That’s for sure!

  • twinky drew

    ewwww, old people

  • Chadboy

    As a 43 year old gay man who started losing his hair at 19 I never looked “young” to the gay world. Everyone thought I was 10 years older than my actual age. Since I didn’t fit the physical ideal of gay beauty I learned to be a conversationalist, quick with a joke and a good friend. I worked hard in my job so to advance and called my parents 3 times a week. I realized early on that it is important for all of us to cultivate ourselves beyond physical looks. At my age now I am happy with my life and comfortable with who I am.

    Mr. Bergeron’s story is one I see play out all the time in our community. After 21 years of living in NYC I have seen many guys who turned heads in bars back in the 90s not even get a glance today. These often are the same guys who didn’t bother with me years ago because I didn’t fit their ideal. Mr. Bergeron’s story is sad and selfish because of the void he left his family and his patients who must be wondering how credible this man’s advice was through the years. I have sympathy for his family, friends and colleagues, but it’s hard for me to feel for a man who had a successful career, thought it was difficult to live on $150k, always seemed to have bfs and even in the most recent pics on the NY TIMES site of him shows him as healthy and handsome, but he never knew how good he had it.

  • Codswallop

    A book came out several years ago that addresses the emotional development of gay men, “The Velvet Rage: Overcoming The Pain Of Growing Up Gay In A Straight Man’s World” by Alan Downs. One of Downs’ basic premises is that gay men can get stuck in a loop where they look for external validation by adopting an attitude of “Everything’s GREAT! Perfect!” and the whole “A-gay” trappings of beauty and success. They work out for the perfect body, buy the perfect clothes, cars, vacations, have the most beautiful or largest number of lovers. They do these things because they want to be envied and desired but for a lot of them it really doesn’t make them happy because it doesn’t address who they really are underneath that glossy exterior. It’s not authentic, it’s all about surface and appearances.

    The goal, according to Downs, is to move toward authenticity and focus on what really makes you happy, not the glamorous or “fabulous” things that might get you external validation but are ultimately unfulfilling. Now personally I thought Downs applied his theory a little too broadly to ALL gay men, but have to say that based on Bergeron’s writing and his statements about aging then his suicide he is a textbook example of what Downs was talking about.

    IMO it’s a book worth reading and thinking about for most gay men because it does offer some insight into gay men as they mature and age and how not to get stuck in life of “I’m dancing as fast as I can!” of studied “fabulousness” and seeking approval for shallow and ephemeral things like youth, beauty, and possessions.

  • Jack

    I was never a shirtless party boy, but I enjoy enough taken-for-granted privilege in my life without thinking about it to know that I too could end up a mess if some of it were to start falling away (versus certain other advantages, which I never had in the first place).

    As the saying goes, “I don’t know who discovered water, but it sure wasn’t a fish.”

    Mr. Bergeron is absolutely right (as he stated in that “shirtless” blog piece) that sexual attraction is not just a pathway to sex, but also provides a social introduction of sorts. “Invisibility” doesn’t necessarily just mean “Oh, the twinks won’t sleep with me if I don’t pay them.” For some, it could also mean looking at increased social isolation going forward, and few in the animal kingdom survive that.

    The NY Times can suck it. As for the commentors, how about a simple “RIP” and moving on, rather than whining that you were snubbed by the popular boys at the bars? Some of us learned to deal with that particular trauma by the time we were 21, and we (thankfully) don’t rub our hands in glee every time a troubled soul who happens to have been pretty takes his life.

  • LittIe,Kiwi

    you cannot base your life and your happiness on surface, aesthetic, shallow perceptions and then wonder why your life is not emotionally fulfilling.

    at some point adults need to be adults and INTERROGATE themselves and their own held opinions, attractions, and interactions.

    some men are happy being a “bar star” – but that’s like being Prom King. A year later, nobody is gonna gave a damn because a newer younger king will have arrived in town.

  • Tom

    The suicide of this man is a terrible tragedy. But fear of aging is not unique to the gay community. What may be unique is how long it takes us to accept it, or the tools we have at our disposal to do so.

    That being said, I’m quite impressed by the level of discourse happening here in the Comments section. I read through almost every comment so far, and I’ve read only a few catty remarks. Most replies have been thoughtful and sensitive. Makes me kinda proud.

  • Michael.

    For many of those of us who have survived after living with an AIDS diagnosis for 30 years, this is a non-issue. We certainly could not anticipate living long enough to see an old age when even a next birthday was remote. The “future” just wasn’t going to happen for us.

    But here many of us are, nonetheless.

    Personally, I’m beyond caring about what I appear to be to other gay men. Sure, once I was quite a head-turner and made a living based, in part, on my good looks. My body was athletic and supple and I was proud to show it off. Sex was everywhere, and I was there. It was thrilling to be young and gay.

    But after so many beautiful, wonderful friends have died, I find myself without any longtime friendships today. I suppose it is a fear that I will lose those closest to me, so I don’t attach so freely these days. I’ve settled down with a partner who shares much of my story. He seems to think I look just fine. We cook and garden, a lot.

    My heart always goes out to those who decide that life is just too hard, because sometimes it is. But I have learned that still “being here” is important, not only because it allows us the opportunity to celebrate our memories of those who are no longer with us, but because it affords us the luxury of gratitude.

  • Colin

    @Michael.: Thank you for that. It’s nice to know that as a survivor of the horror of the time of AIDS, there are others who share my loss and the love of friends and lovers no longer here. I always felt it was my privilege and my burden to carry their love and their memory with me. Some days it’s very hard and other days their love carries me. I know how lucky I am to be here, healthy and successful with a lovely home and wonderful friends. That doesn’t take away the pain of the loss or the fear of the future, but I guess we all have to take it a day at a time and learn to focus on the all the amazing things life offers us.

  • DouggSeven

    Everyone hates getting old – gay or straight. It looks to me like this guy was a bit messed up and his fear of turning 50 succumbed him. He probably led a very shallow existence and surrounded himself with like individuals. I’d be curious to know how long and real his ‘long term relationship’ was and why it ended. I bet that would answer a multitude of questions.

  • t money

    @jason, wth is an “exclusively gay man”? and why assume all they do is party? i dont know how you grew up, but something that has been really important to me all my life is family. and being a family man. being gay never made me think that was impossible or deterred me from wanting that. gay men can have families/children, if thats what they want to do. just like straight men can have families or not. choosing to or not to, isnt the sole domain of straight or bi men. thats just stupid. also, not all men relate to the world sexually. gay or straight. you have some screwy thoughts going on. you sound really base.

  • J Edwards

    First, I had to stop reading this comment thread about 10 comments in because…well, let me just say that I’m extremely grateful that comment threads aren’t representative of our community or I would probably join Mr. Bergeron. Thank God the lunatic fringe tends to stay home on their computers, leaving the real world to sane people.

    Second, any response to this story other than “how sad” is disgusting. Every death is a tragic loss to someone – especially the one who died – and should be mourned. I will raise Bob in prayer in church this Easter Sunday.

    Third, the age obsession in our community is such a distortion. Sure, there are hot 21 year olds posting ab pics on A4A, but those abs will wind up rotting in the ground one day with the rest of us. And I know from my own experience that I am more truly myself now at 48 than I was at 21. Less hair on my head, more gray in my beard, more weight, more lines on my face. But in my skull and in my soul, more substance, more experience, more perspective.

    Listen, those of us who survived the losses of the 80s and 90s, watching all our friends die, should have come out of that experience understanding that every year we have is a gift. My dead friends would not be happy with me moaning about getting older. I would imagine that they wish they could have experienced the “losses” of aging. I know I wish they could have. I’d be less lonely, for one thing. And imagine what we’ve missed because of their absences.

    I love my gay brothers. That’s what I learned as I watched them die. And it cuts me to the bone when we lose another one. Whether on a fence outside Laramie or because they killed themselves. I didn’t know him, but my world is diminished when we lost Bob.

  • Bipolar Bear

    As a gay man with a mental illness who has also struggled with suicidal thoughts, I can say your brain is not working properly when you get to the point of wanting to take the exit route. All hope disappears and your life becomes a shrinking bubble.

    While his tragic death will undoubtedly shred the credibility of his book for some, I think it’s also a truism that some of us are far better at providing good advice for others than we are at helping ourselves. I feel so sorry that he didn’t have that little circuit-breaker in his brain that could reach out for help at that critical moment.

    For those who are interested, here’s a piece I wrote about coming back from the brink of suicide a few years ago. I could have been another Bob Bergeron, but luckily I was able to ring out for help:

  • jj

    @MikeE: Mike, people who kill themselves aren’t selfish, they’re seriously mentally ill. This guy was severely depressed and quite possibly bipolar and that is why he is dead. Get off your high horse and show some compassion.

  • Martin

    Carl Jung talked about this issue which is not unique to gay men, many women feel the same way too.
    Jung said that life is a dynamic. We live much longer than necessary to bring our offspring to adulthood, which must mean that there is a purpose with the second half of life.
    Jung believed that purpose was participation in culture and spiritual development, ultimately as a preparation to death, while the purpose of the first half is all the material things. Sex, forstering children, earning money and position.
    Primitive people spent a long time preparing for the end. Today the ideal is to drop dead suddenly preferably blissfully unaware of what is happening. To chase away the fear of death and growing old we occupy ourselves with consumerism and hedonism (like that infamous gay cruise which attracts mainly a mature crowd).
    These things are hollow and will never fulfill but can at most distract.
    Participation in culture could be any activity really where you give something back. Maybe do cooking lessons, sit on a LGBT help line. Share your photos or whatever. Give! Pour from your experience and be enriched by a feeling of Purpose.

    Spiritual development carries a bad connotation of New Age or catholisism, but to occupy yourself with the big questions in life does not necessitate submitting to a definite faith. An stablished religion like Christianity or buddism is a collective way of achieving this goal by a prepackaged means. Not everyone can achieve spiritual development individually which is why methods have been handed down through centuries and even millenia. The collective approach comes at the price of destroying ones own content in the process. Ones own unconscious is the satanic prescence which Christianity seeks to eject.

    It may sound boring and the road may look stony, but this is the only true solution to the problem of old age. To know ones soul, to be aware of its existence, its relation to a divine principle. To draw back the unconscious projections, which are like patterns of thought and behaviour determined by unsolved issues in ourselves (ie fucking like crazy on the dick-deck on the cruise). When we project a content outside of ourselves we loose the energy (libido) contained in it for ourselves. That loss is felt as unfulfilledness, it leads to depression and neurosis. The real purpose of spiritual development is to get to know ones true self with all its parts, not just the ego which is merely the focal point of consciousness.

    These are the machinations behind that uneasy feeling we get when we think of old age. Unpreparedness for death and a feeling of purposelesness in life. There is no such thing as a “peak” in life. Living is a process not a rise and a decline. Everything has its own time and purpose.

    Old age is not sexless. Sexuality exists throughout life. It is natural and healthy to have desires. Some dont conform to societys norms. Those emotions can then be fulfilled by fantasy which is not sad and impotent, but a wonderful source of enjoyment and a powerful tool of the mind.

    In this age spiritual things are thought to have no meaning and definitely no reality because they cannot be proven. Only closed minds refuse to acknowledge what they do not already know to be a fact. A philosophy that only acknowledges what can be measured is as a strange lamp which lights up only the things we already know Jung says. There is a whole world of which the majority of the western world is in denial. The results are depression and sometimes suicide as in this case.

  • Trog


    Wow. Thanks for that link, No. 35. The mind boggles at how Bergeron tries to deal with feeling sexy and over 40. He says don’t take your shirt off if more than 50 percent of the crowd is younger than 30?!?? WTF advice is that?!?? For real?

    That post certainly offers insight into his very disturbing frame of mind and advice.

    I have serious doubts about his ability to help others through therapy.

  • Martin

    @J Edwards: 21 year old abs are nice! Everyone can enjoy looking at them. Thats not bad or disgusting. But you are so lucky when you can say you are more yourself now. This is what i mean and what i believe Carl Jung meant. Development of the self.

    But by all means enjoy the abs too…!!!

  • John

    I am 53 years old, look better and feel better than I ever have in my life. I take care of my body and my soul. Happiness takes some work and personally I have had many changes in my life over the last 5 years. Life is about evolving, growing, being in pain emotionally and physically sometimes AND is about being wiser and knowing how to be grateful for what we have and can still achieve. But I must say, I have a lot of younger men (in their 20’s) attracted to me, which strikes me as odd when our culture is so youth oriented. Sometimes in our culture it is hard to let go of the thrill of youth and glamor. But we must acknowledge gracefully humility and humanness to survive and be happy. Our bodies do change and sexual activity changes with that, but I have had better more full filling relationships lately than ever before. Apparently Bergeron did not look to far beyond himself to find some happiness, which is a shame, he was handsome and successful.

  • Martin

    OMG as i tead through the comments I get really shocked. I do so wish people would and could take Carl Jungs advice. This is exactly what he is talking about.

    Never believe life is over at 40. Never look for that peak in life. Life is a chain of experiences. There are other things in life than looking like model for Prada. That has an esthetic quality which we can enjoy too. But life is full of experiences. Reading a book. Smelling coffee. A day in spring.

    Be something for someone. Crustybastards advice with a dog is a really good idea. Its not too esoteric or difficult. And besides dog owners often share their interest with like minded people.

    Be something for someone. Family is of course the obvious place to look, but not all have children. Maybe you have nieces or nephews then or maybe lonely elderly people would like a regular visitor.

    As Master Yoda says “luminous beings are we. Not this crude flesh” We are not defined by our abs or our wallets. We are so much more than what we carry around or the price of our car.

  • FunMe

    @Martin: Love your posts!

  • Xerxes


    I read the article in the Times yesterday, and was trying to decide why and for whom it was written.
    However, there have been several thoughtful comments above, and I hope that people take the time to read them all.

    I think that the key to being happy as one ages, regardless of being gay or straight, is to be aware of and to develop ones inner life, ones spiritual life. Spirituality covers alot of things, and is different for different persons. Nature, beauty, art, music, personal relationships of all sorts (not only ones that are or may lead to sex) are all elements of this.

    The link to Bob Bergeron’s web-site was very interesting. Attacking the point from several different facets, Bergeron seemed devoted to maintaining one’s self as material for the circuit parties until the grave. Despite the big smile he flashes, knowing how he turned out makes this sad viewing. For example, the video blog about older gay men looking for opportunities to take their shirts off in public. I was thinking, some of the happiest gay men I know are involved in taking meals to persons with AIDS, they belong a gay book clubs, they participate in gay yoga or sports groups. In other words, they are balanced and connected to all aspects of life, not simply locked into the pursuits of the young.
    Youth is wonderful, but all life is wonderful. Hopefully, one gains a least a bit of wisdom as one adds on years. Life is not only Happy Hours and bar contests. There is a rich and broad gay culture available to everyone – guys do not need to stay locked into what they did 20 or 30 years ago.

    My older uncle is gay. He has been a wonderful mentor to me and to a gay cousin. My uncle and his partner married in California (when it was legal). They are both active in gay professional groups in their respective fields. They say their friends almost all died during the worst of the plague. I can not imagine the fear that must have gripped the gay community. Everyone currently alive, in these better times for gays, needs to find how he may connect to life and stay connected. I am learning to love being gay, not to just accept it. I think that there are different answers to aging as a gay for many of us, but I think that the key to all of them is to develop an inner life too. This is not done at bars and gyms alone.

  • Daulphin Mann

    @Pedro: nothing you said deserved Bigg’s hysterical narcissistic outburst. (Jason on the other hand… but that’s another story). Let’s just all forget the Bigg queen & move to more meaningful discussions.
    As for Bob, what I’ve only seen discussed in comments (& not in either article) is the fact that behind the agism, the narcissism, “what have you” headline grabbing phrasology is the mundane but critical fact that anyone who commits suicide absolutely has “something chemical &/or clinical” going on, & either was IS clinically depressed. It’s been astonishing to me to see here, despite the disproportionally high rates of depression among gays & lesbians & trans people, and the fact that THAT leads to disproportionally high rates of suicide among us, bitter queens here (& some everywhere) are going to nonetheless do us all the dis-service (but probably themselves the most) are going to throw shade (& worse) just in order to (or conveniently, if indeliberately) avoid the elephant in THIS room, which is DEPRESSION, & it’s corollating typography, elements & atmosphere in & among ALL us queers (including you, @Jason). And as such, it’s not unrelated to gay youth committing suicide: it’s all part of the same spectrum & reality we are living in, whether we want to face it or avoid facing it. It is a problem thru out (mostly western) society, but MOST definitely a HUGE problem among us GLBT-Queer folk. And a final note on that I’d like to offer is 1st a thank you to the person here who touched on this, & to expound with this: having survived AIDS (so far, but thats another thread) & now facing father Time, we queers facing fifty or sixty or seventy NOW are in a (by all accounts) unprecedented predicament having lived thru a scale of loss that only the worst military wars ever fought can begin to compare to, both in terms of loss & PTS. But the contours & characteristics of our “war, & loss & compounded, arrested/avoided grieving & compounded PTS” are very different from those from the worst military wars, & in very significant ways (tied into our sexuality, our personal identity, etc), as well as by survival guilt, etc., & the other things in common with ‘returning vets’. But, even though we do NOT take care of our military vets (at least in the US) any way NEAR as we should, the truth is they do have at least some coordinated support & benefits to help them after that war. As queers, we do not have any such thing, & not a damned thing even beginning to approach that, or any response whatsoever. And by “virtue” of that, combined with the kinds of acerbic, wildly judgmental & even hateful treatment — “shade”, etc. — some queers (as here) are so ready to throw onto others, when we could instead (as some are) use this time & space to bring forth… Oh IDK: Compassion? Empathy? Genuine inquiry? …to try & get at the true core of the matter(s) to at least TRYto be supportive & develop understanding FOR OUR OWN PEOPLE. Bc the truth is, whether you are one of our “thrown away vets” of the AIDS war (as I am, & Bob was) – both of us were ‘in the trenches in NYC from the beginning thru the worst of it), or whether you are a queer teenager, or a queer 1/4-lifer, there’s a very high chance you or have or will AGAIN be afflicted with some level of depression, while queers continue committing suicide in this country 2-3 times for often than straight folks (& mean more frequently than women).
    So, I’d like to thank every person who contributed to this thread (even you Bigg & Jason, for at least being part of this, if not as constructively as others). And I hope we’ll con’t having these more difficult convo’s, & that we can collectively begin improving on our “self” & “community” support. And finally, that media, incl & ESP Queerty, will get beyond the headline grabbin phrasologies & easy “analysis” and do more to contribute to identifying & describing the pink elephant in this room. Peace, all

  • sam

    Wow! ,,,, so many thoughtful and interesting comments, thanks to all,,,.

    I suppose everyone has had some very sad periods in life.
    Sometimes it is a very hopeless period.
    We try different things to get along,,, ,,
    I have found time and patience works the best.

    At age 73.
    I continue with about the same mind set as I did at age 13. lol.
    I believe that is true,,, “we never change”

    I started work at age 14,,, and still work today.
    I lived outside the US for many years, worked and lived close with the local people.
    I loved this period of my life, filled with risky high adventure.
    I never wached the clock or complained. I just wanted to accomplish the objective.
    My employer naturally loved me for being this way,,, my boss knew I was crazy/stupid.
    I always did things at my own pace, never been very searious about the $.
    But, I was always very searious and more than fair in both, work and love affairs.
    ,, I am sad to say, but it is true, my lovers have died, left me for others, etc.
    I have always found myself attracted to people totally opposites ,,,, color, culture, language, economics, etc., which can be complicated with many misunderstandings and some costly errors,,, but the love always endured, even after seperating.
    I always try to be prepared,,, with moderate savings/investment/insurance.
    ,,, I have always been a bit of a worring type,,,
    striving to have a plan for surviving. A must as an aviator.

    My delima today is,,, complicated,,, I do not know the answer,,,.
    At my age, I know death is likely to be ,,, ? soon,, maybe a few years at best.
    But, before death there is the time of being debilitated and unable to be independent.
    And, having some assets, I know assisted living/nursing home will take $ …
    I wish to find a way to protect my assets.
    Anyone with ideals message me here or E-mail [email protected]

    Getting old has many disadvantages,,, medicine, doctors, etc.
    But, It is nice to have grown smarter with the life experiances.

    One quick story.
    I remember as a young man in Tokyo.
    I was rejected repeatedly by young guys that I wanted.
    The young guys would choose mature guys. I was very dissipointed.

  • Kev C

    Somewhere, a painting of me is getting old. I don’t know which is worse: people who treat me like I’m younger than I am, or people who treat me my age.

  • jason

    When you start devoting your life to the gay scene, it’s a form of self-segregation and self-limiting. You limit your happiness in life to a narrow, body-obsessed, youth-obsessed culture. No wonder many of you get depressed once you lose your looks and get a little older.

    Truly, you’ve set a trap for yourselves, and you’ve allowed others (meaning those who market the gay concept) to set a trap for you.

  • I get it too

    I think it is unfortunate that this tragedy is being used as a forum by some people to argue for the superiority of their usually “family” value conforming lifestyle over others’ supposedly “superficial” way of life.

    What happened to the ideals of the gay movement? What’s with this new conservatism? Weren’t we supposed to welcome all kinds of alternative lifestyles?

  • Uh what?

    Ok I honestly think this suicide is so stupid. If your living for beauty and getting admiration from others your obviously gonna be depressed all the time if your not getting what you want and around the wrong ppl. I’m only 19 but I’m setting myself up for a great future with a job surrounding myself with great support like family friends and hopefully a family for myself one… I don’t understand how someone could take their life for something so minor but well obviously never know the true cause. Beauty isn’t everything and life is everything.

  • TJ

    Not sure how to respond to all of this – very insightful comments. No one ever really knows what drives someone to suicide, but I think if you live in one of the gay ghettos, you get caught up in a shallow gay world, and it takes a toll on you and plays with your mind.

  • Joe

    Everyone gets old. Deal with it. There’s no sense in worrying about it, because there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Rather, gay or straight or bi or whatever, look at each stage of life and see the good in it. In your early 20s you are young and hard in an instant and can have sex lots. Go out and party, stay up all night and still go into work the next day. Enjoy it and have fun with it. In my 30s I found that people took me a little more seriously, and I was able to find my adult persona and explore who I was there. When I reach my 40s, 50s, 60s, and god willing beyond I will try and find the positive aspects to those eras of my life.

    Everyone gets old, and everyone dies. I would like to live as long as I can, and I will enjoy every bit of it because who knows what comes after?

  • Daniisland

    This is the fault of mainstream gay media. Superficial ideals and almost unattainable standards push many men and boys to the breaking point whom try and archive these things.
    This isnt only about age, its also about everything physical as well. Unfortunately this is never going to change, unless individuals quit trying to feed into the stereotypes and obnoxious standards the few have ‘established’ in what it means to be attractive.

  • I get it

    Here’s the thing: this isn’t only about the party circuit boys. I was never part of that scene. I don’t drink, so I’ve never been comfortable in bars. I’m not a gym god, nor have I ever wanted to be. And I dance like the tall, awkward, rhythmically challenged geek with two left feet that I am.

    I know there are other men like me, guys who want to meet for platonic friendships, and I have tried to meet them. But these men who said they were seeking the same thing I am–someone with whom I can catch a movie, share a meal, just hang out–thought I was using that as a come on and inevitably tried to get into my pants.

    I suppose I should feel flattered, right?

    It was so easy when we were kids. You walked up to another kid, you shared a toy, and that was it: you were friends.

    @the other Greg: I appreciate the kind words and advice. I actually live in Boston–I’m a native–and I agree with much about what you said. I’ll try to follow-up on your suggestions. Though that may be a case of easier said than done.

    @Bigg: I’m glad you found happiness. And I believe that you were not “bragging” about the fact that your partner is younger than you are, as some have assumed, but were trying to offer encouragement. Thank you.

    @I get it too: Yeah, you clearly do get it, too. My eyes welled up a bit as I read what you wrote because a lot of it was familiar. I spent my teens and 20s adrift, not dealing with my depression, feeling hopeless. You’re right: most of the critics seem to think that being gay requires one to be shallow and superficial, and of course we know that’s no more true than saying all lesbians are good mechanics, all Asians are bad drivers, or all Mexicans are lazy.

    (If that last sentence pissed you off, good. Now read it again. My point is those sterotypes, which are often are NOT true, just as saying all gay men party and are only into appearances is not true.)

    Those depictions of gay men are part of the reason I never told anyone I was gay. There was no confusion on my part. I always knew I liked boys and as I got older it was obvious what aroused me. I had a great family and I don’t recall ever worrying about them rejecting me. Likewise with most of my friends at the time. The only one who kept me in the closet was me. The few gay men I knew were flamboyant, bitchy, and miserable. The gay men on TV at the time were effeminate, Cowardesque, and often victims. I wasn’t, and didn’t want to be any of the above, so I tried to accept the fact that I would be alone forever and, when that didn’t work I tried to kill myself.

    And I now realize I’m sharing shit that nobody here really cares about, so I’ll end it here. Thanks to those of you who responded to my original post.

  • Alister

    @I get it: Life is what you make of it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and put yourself out there. I’m 33, and I have a huge affinity for older men, over 45. And there are many younger gay men who do. Confidence is, by far, the most attractive quality in a man. And funny thing is, it’s attainable for all of us! Even you.

  • JG

    bob was my shrink for about five years. i last saw him about a year and a half ago.
    in a truth is stranger than fiction kind of twisted reality i started seeing him because a friend of mine killed himself and it messed me up.
    irrespective of the motivation for bob’s suicide, the reality is another gay man has self-destructed. my straight friends don’t know any peers who have killed themselves. i am 38 years old and i have four friends who have killed themselves.
    bob mentioned to me when i first started seeing him ‘when i eventually write a book it will be about how gay men can be nice to each other’
    be nice to yourselves and to the community guys. apparently we are all very good at making ourselves suffer. don’t inflict suffering on others.

  • I get it

    @Alister: Thank you for taking the time to respond and for your advice. I do agree that confidence can draw men to you, but it’s not something I have an abundance of at the moment.

    I know I need to put myself out there, but where, exactly, is “there”?

  • Henry Holland

    The problem for exclusively gay men is that their lives are based on a monotonous pattern of parties

    Haven’t been to a party in ages.

    dance clubs

    Haven’t set foot in a dance club since Reagan was President.

    and appearance

    I own 3 pairs of 501’s, one pair of dress slacks, a few dress shirts and a bunch of concert t-shirts. I only excercisze to prevent a heart attack, not because I want six-pack abs, I barely comb my hair and I’ll never get plastic surgery.

    Any other boring, dumbass stereotypes you want to throw out there?

    With bisexual men or straight men, the option of having children injects a new lease of life into you

    Or: for 3 of my co-workers they’re total fucking nightmares, time and money vampires who suck all the joy out of their lives because they have no time to themselves or for their wives, everything is centered around their kids, lest they a) don’t get in to a good school (= living at home at 40) or b) don’t turn in to serial killers because they were ignored as children. They can’t wait until they leave for college.

    Any other boring, dumbass stereotypes you want to throw out there?

  • Peter

    A big hug to all the thoughtful commenters.

    Depression is a terrible struggle. People who have not experienced it do not understand that you can not “just snap out of it.” It actually takes work, every day, to deal with it and life. It’s important to use whatever tools you need that work for you, whether its counseling, medication, 12 step programs, exercise, sometimes all of the above. The important thing is to stay connected with supportive people. Good luck to everyone dealing with life!

  • MikeE

    This man was NOT a long-time sufferer of depression.
    So stop defending his cowardly act as a last ditch act of a desperate man.

    He was obviously vain and self-centered, if his looks and especially how OTHER people looked at him, were the most important things that defined his life.

    He had a pretty serious psychological problem, but depression was NOT one of them.

    He was a narcissist.

    He may have been a very nice person, he may even have been a good counselor, but he was a sad excuse of a human being.

    And all of you going on about “depression this” and “depression that”… I’ve BEEN there. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, and guess what? I called my doctor and we dealt with it. Having suicidal thoughts is not “normal”. And it’s not an excuse to “go through with it”.

    And AGAIN! This guy did NOT have a history of depression. He was VAIN. period.

  • Times2

    @Gigi: I want to clarify that I find Bob’s post “jaw-dropping” because it is sad. I’m guessing you didn’t read my earlier post, #33.


    This story is tragic, and it’s natural for people to try to make meaning of tragedies. But the meaning here is not very obscure. Bob left a note with an arrow pointing toward the title page of his book: “It’s a lie based on bad information.” In other words, the strategy to dispel his own suffering unraveled.

    We can look for explanations other than his own, but why should we? Looking through his website, it’s quite obvious his suffering related to his own confusion and dread over aging and sexual desire. The remedy he chose was tragic and I cannot believe people call him cowardly and stupid. Suffering is suffering. It’s easy to judge it when it’s not yours or you’re looking at it retrospectively. But nobody chooses to suffer.

  • lohen

    I’m 20 about to be 21 on the 17th.
    Frankly I’m terrified.i feel like i have to make up for being alone and not being honest with my self in HS. I feel unprepared for just normal everyday adult things.
    I’m not ready for death either considering my odds of kicking the bucket increase every year i stay alive. knowing now that i wont be protected from the worst of it by my parents for much longer.
    Im glad I have a guy my own age to go through it with me. Though i could pass for 20-28 and he looks 19.

  • I get it

    @lohen: Don’t worry that you feel unprepared and don’t think about death. The former is natural and the latter, well, it’s not going to change anything, so why waste your time.

    Enjoy your life and your guy. Try not to fall into the traps that many of the posters here have mentioned. And have a great birthday.

  • Ruhlmann

    Ageing has never been a problem for me. I have had more of a problem deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up and that didn’t happen until I was forty. I didn’t like twenty year olds when I was twenty and socialised with gay and straight people in their forties. There are so many things in this life to derive pleasure and satisfaction from that these ageing insecurities are more of a personality disorder than a predictable human crisis which I once thought was inevitable in gay men. Good health, good friends and something to be passionate about are the only things that we should worry about not having in our lives. Suicide over ageing and sexual desire is repulsive on every level I can think of. What a shame that Bob Bergeron didn’t think he had enough going for himself to go on.

  • the crustybastard

    @Daulphin Mann: “…having survived AIDS…we queers facing fifty or sixty or seventy…having lived thru a scale of loss that only the worst military wars ever fought can begin to compare to…But the contours & characteristics of our “war, & loss…are very different…even though we do NOT take care of our military vets…as we should, the truth is they do have at least some coordinated support & benefits to help them after that war. As queers, we do not have any such thing.”

    I’ve never considered it that way. But I should have.

    Brilliant observation. Thanks.

  • Just being real

    In the end it was this guy’s personal choice to kill himself and only he knows why he did it. Rest in peace. Lohen you are 20 going to be 21 and yet you’re acting as though you’re already a bitter, jaded, washed up and burnt out queen.

  • nikko

    @MikeE: Exactly, Mike. This “therapist” is Gay Fail. Seriously, Physician, Heal Thyself. Especially before giving others advice, idiot. How the hell could this guy not know that being vain, shallow and materialistic is a sure path to emptiness? He gives anti-gay people ammunition for their beliefs. Indeed, he (Bergeron) seemed to have it all and lied to his clients/public. Stupid fag. What an embarrassment.

  • nikko

    @jason: So true, Jason.

  • Beautiful Stranger

    I was casually acquainted with Bob Bergeron and like many other people he brightened my day every time I saw him. He always made me feel important when we exchanged words. I am terribly saddened by his life.

    I am not going to try analyzing Bob’s reasons for taking his life when I wasn’t part of his inner circle. But I have got to think that even if Bob attributed his tragic decision to the perils of aging there was some other deeper reason that he took his own life that he didn’t want to divulge in his final last words.

    My own thought on the subject on gay men and aging is that while our straight counterparts (and in fact many of our gay counterparts) have children to raise and are wedded to watching their children grow and spread their wings for many of us without children and even without lifetime partners the prospect of aging and facing the unknown void of our later years is a lot more daunting (at least for me). If I was preoccupied by raising my children I dont think I would be as focused on aging and the meaning of life.

  • American Dreamer

    While most gay men will never make the same tragic choice as Bob Bergeron a substantial number of them will make the tragic decision of wasting too much of their precious life chasing an impossible ideal of youth until they are in the twilight years of their life.

    I work out a few days a week at a popular chain gym and see the same gay men their night after night for two hour stretches toning their bodies into impossible ideals of manhood. Some of them seem to have a healthy attitude toward their bodies but for many of them it is truly pathological. They look miserable (and often don’t look that healthy).

    I honestly think they obsess over their bodies and their fleeting youth because it gives some meaning to their lives. Others of us have family and friends, a profession, a religion or even just a love of the arts to keep us going. For them it is their bodies and that is their self worth. I don’t want to judge them but its a dangerous game because those bodies are going to give out eventually and then what are they left with?

  • Eric in Chicago

    I took his one day course on “the other side of 40” and I thought he had major issues. He just wanted to talk about how at one time he was the hot young thing and now he doesn’t get attention from the hot guys anymore. He acted like that was EVERYONE’s story in the gay community. Keep in mind he was a good looking guy with a muscular body with loving friends, family and a good career. The fact that he was so wrapped up in this story he was telling himself and trying to “work it out” through his practice and books says a lot about how deeply he felt this way. HE NEEDED HELP! Serious help to see what he had instead of what he had not.

    Does this say something about the gay male community? Sure it probably does but giving up is his selfish act not something we can pin on the gay community as a whole.

    This is a sad unnecessary end to a life worth living. If only he could have seen it.

  • Eric in Chicago

    @MEJ: You need to get out of the house, get a job, ANY JOB and interact with other people. Maybe just volunteer somewhere (volunteering can lead to jobs). You should make sure your Sisters help you with caring for your parents – even if for just a day so you can do your own thing. You don’t HAVE to wait to die or live until your parents die. You need some HELP – please reach out and get some. Your life shouldn’t be so bleak. I am NOT judging you – I am trying to inspire you to go have a life.

  • Eric in Chicago

    I also want to point out – in the early 80’s 22 and 23 year old men were DYING of AIDS. They would have given ANYTHING to be the other side of 40.

    There are also many a gay person who would have wanted his looks, his body, his job, his supportive family etc etc etc

  • Beautiful Stranger

    Is it possible that Bergeron was weighed down by dealing with other people’s problems on a daily basis as a therapist?

    I often wonder how a therapist mentally and physically removes himself from his work in order to lead a healthy existence of their own.

    Bergeron certainly had his demons like the rest of us. The NYT article appeared apocryphal to me because it placed the entire blame for his tragic decision on his fear of aging when there were probably enough issues leading to his death to write another book.

    A very well known Israeli gay porn star who also worked out at Barton gym committed suicide in the same manner a month earlier. This may have been a copycat suicide if nothing else. I know Bergeron must have been aware of this other suicide.

  • Arnold of NY

    I knew Tom peripherally over the past two decades. We had a few mutual acquaintances and for a time ran in similar circles (Fire Island Pines, the gay gym of the moment, circuit parties, etc). So suffice it to say I knew him and the world he lived in.

    Jacob, who wrote this article, writes mostly about fashion and celebrity and is a freshman to the NYTimes. I was a bit surprised and at first put off to see this piece in the Sunday Times on Sat. morning, even if it was in the often sensationalized Style section. It seemed harsh and unsavory. But then I thought about it further and realized that of late in the Style section there have also been mostly wonderful, uplifting articles about gay people (marriage, etc). So that tempered my feelings. Still it was hard to read.

    What was missing from the article were some facts about Tom. He struggled with crystal meth from the late 1990’s until his death. And along with drugs came sex. He was also a sometime steroid user over the years. Tom eventually got into an S/M sex scene fueled by his drug use.

    Sadly, over the last ten years about three of four times a year, I hear of the suicide of someone I knew or knew at a distance from the gay “party world”. It’s rather maddening.

  • Arnold of NY

    @Eric in Chicago: This article was misleading because it was really the story of a drug and sex addict. The weirdest thing is how come none of his patients saw him on Manhunt or Adam as I did? Looking for an S/M scene. He hit me up not knowing who I was, over and over again, often in the wee hours of the morning. I blocked him. I thought WOW he’s really tweeked out…creepy.

  • Satisfaction Guaranteed

    @Arnold of NY:

    Who are you referring to as Tom? Bob Bergeron? If Bob was on Manhunt that is hardly a revelation as he discussed gay dating sites in his book. To be fair I heard Bob was a regular at various sex clubs over the years including most recently Paddles ( a club on Sixth Avenue near 26th street which is a pretty intense scene) but there is no shame in that as it is just another expression of our sexual freedom as gay men as long as you keep everything in moderation. If you were referring to Bob as “Tom” and he had a drug or sex addiction problem that could definitely have lead to a downward spiral and affected his psyche leading him to commit this horrible act.

    I have to admit it seemed strange to me the New York Times article didn’t make any mention of Bob’s sexual exploits but I doubt Bob felt he had anything to hide himself.

  • FunMe

    @Arnold of NY: Huh? Who the heck is “Tom”????

  • Pete

    I see some unfortunate general themes with Bergeron’s suicide, the suicide of Roman Ragazzi, the porn star whose death was reported on Queerty, and the total destruction of the bar and party area on Fire Island. It doesn’t matter if you are a therapist or not, f you get too far into drugs and kink, you loose it. #97 above may be right in his assessment. Nothing wrong with good looks, gym life, being sexy. But to try to build one’s entire life on it is a mistake. Any lasting substance has been squeezed out. I read all the posts on Bergeron’s blog about promoting his practice. They are ALL about how to try to find the Fountain of Youth, in one way or another. Many have gone down ahead of him in pursuit of this ghost of a goal. I feel sorry that he was hooked in to this tragic life himself. From his web site, it’s all he thought about. He wrote about nothing else. Poor guy, and poor people that he “counseled”.

  • JBS

    What a miserable and pathetic piece of bullshit. If this man killed himself because of old-age, it simply means he wasn’t able to live up to his own shallow and miserable narrow-minded view of society.

    This notion that people “peak” is the greatest disservice we could do to anybody in our community or to heteros, period. Steve Jobs was 56 and still reinventing education. Johnny Cash was writing #1 hits well into his 80s. There are gay couples who have been together for 50-60 years since the end of WW2.

    If anything, our community is too reliant on the sage advise of these “self-help” gurus. When I’m in Castro and I see the used books being sold in the street they tend to be by frauds like Kevin Trudeau and Bob Bergerson.

    Enough is enough. If people can’t love themselves and stop falling for the Size 2, zero calories, plastic, Hollywood-influenced, image-means-everything dark side of the LGBT culture, we can kiss equal rights goodbye. This is exactly the sort of bullshit that gives our community a bad name. Not all of us want to live in a world that resembles Logo and Bravo. Not all of us want to live in cramped studio apartments in New York City or West Hollywood while drinking endless and living in a martini glass.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @MEJ: I am having a hard time figuring out whether your comment is a day-late April Fool’s joke or the real thing. So, if a joke, well you succeeded in trapping several other Queerty posts, so, well done.

    If not a joke, the answer is not hanging out in bars (though that is where I met my husband, 26 years ago) or hookup sites — the answer is to find yourself in the company of men who want to share living life. There are many gay social/political organizations in Massachusetts, social services for gay kids to gay seniors, bridge clubs to bird watching, jogging and golf, museum touring and antique shopping, fiction writing (not always porn), church/temple, and so many more.

    Continue with the self pity not getting any fun in your life, or do something about it. You said that you were once agoraphobic but overcame that. Bet you there is a web-site support group needing advisors who went through overcoming agoraphobia. And if you were strong enough, and it takes a huge amount of personal strength to overcome agoraphobia, you are strong enough to put yourself into situation where you are social with other gay men. And once you have a social set, there will always be at least one who can’t help but introduce others for dating.

    Good luck.

  • Adrian

    Was he part of the anti-it get’s better campaign?
    I wonder how his parents and friends feel about his suicide.
    I feel more sorry for them than for this guy.

  • I get it too

    The lack of kindness and empathy of some posters here is astounding! (Adrian, JBS, etc.)

    Given the surfeit of people like this in the gay community, it is no wonder so many gay men kill themselves.

    As Beautiful Stranger kindly pointed out, whatever Mr. Bergeron was despondent about, he cannot be accused of lack of human kindness and empathy. In my mind, that made him a thousand times better person than some of the above toxic queens.

  • James Light

    After reading the 100 plus posts my conclusion is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for those that do not live with major depression to understand the complexity of this debilitating disease. It has the ability to strip us of our dignity and often our lives. It has the ability to convince us that the most absurd thoughts are real. It places us in danger to ourselves that we might have otherwise believed impossible.
    Please folks, have a little compassion. It is never as black and white as it seems. Take this sad information and hope that you never get to a place where taking your life over a circumstance seems like the best and only solution.

  • Times2

    @I get it too, No. 105: Ditto. And here we go.

    The meanness of some gay men never ceases to amaze me. If circumstances or your own ambition happen to put you in the public eye as a gay man, you can count on being attacked in the most personal ways possible. It doesn’t even matter if your audience/readership is mainly straight. It will be the gay men who attack, for example, your appearance because of your ideas or sexual behavior. This may sound like stereotyping, but check it out with anyone gay in the public eye.

    Part of this is the infantile belief that every public gay man should set an example of “proper” values. (Thus the attacks on drag queens in Pride Parades, etc.,etc.) So now that we learn Bob Bergeron may have been on Manhunt, enjoyed BDSM and went to sex clubs, all of his work as a therapist was shit? He was stupid. He was a coward. A big fail. He was a meth addict.

    Reading this, it is not the least bit difficult for me to imagine some spiteful asshole threatening to embarrass him. My God, people, the man was suffering — obviously deeply. Why do you need to subject the people who loved him to this kind of disgusting language? Is it because you are so full of moralism and self-hate, like the homophobes who villify us, that you have to turn your disgust on others? WTF did he do to YOU?

  • Arnold of NY

    This article was written by as a human interest story. Not a news story. And as such it’s inaccurate and does a disservice to the deceased. It’s a tragedy and another life lost to substance abuse. Bob was a crystal meth addict (and a sex addict). Bob was in complete denial about this as were his friends. That’s it. Sad. Maddening.

  • Quasimodo

    Here is my two cents: the New York Times article was incredibly shallow and oversimplistic and did not give an accurate depiction of Mr. Bergeron or the circumstances surrounding his suicide. If he was overly obsessed with aging it was only because there was something else missing from his life…whether it was a meaningful relationship, satisfaction with his job or even a moral value system that kept him steady. I suspect that overanxiety involving his book release contributed to the mix. Plus if he really was abusing alcohol or drugs that probably didn’t help either (although I suspect alcohol or drug abuse would be a SYMPTOM and not the CAUSE of his problems).

    My only conclusion is that it was stupid for the New York Times writer to try to tag a specific issue for Mr. Bergeron’s death. There was probably a whole litany of factors that led him down this road. We should try seeking out other people in our lives who may be similarly troubled to try helping them to fix whatever ails them so they can lead happy lives. That is the best we can do to honor Mr. Bergeron’s memory.

  • Thomas

    I think it’s sad when anyone dies, especially by suicide, but what do you expect when you make your life’s goal to be “desired” as a gay man?

    I actually don’t have sympathy for any of the circuit queens, A-list gays, or the body builders who believe that all they have to do is look a certain way to really be valued in our community. I don’t have any sympathy if they end up alone, sad, depressed, and alienated. They chose to live their lives a certain way. Their own inability to see what is really important brought them to that place.

    Some of us want to have real lives with stable relationships. If that means no more gay pride parades, gay clubs, gay vacations or any of that shit, thank fucking god. It’s time to grow the fuck up.

  • Quasimodo

    @Arnold of NY:

    Please remind us again how you reached your conclusion that Mr. Bergeron was a crystal meth addict? Beyond the fact he tried repeatedly to contact you on Manhunt? I dont think that automatically equates with drug abuse. I’ve played the fool on late night dating sites many times over and I haven’t been drunk or on drugs.

    You shouldn’t be making these kind of assertions unless you have something specific to back them up especially when this poor guy can’t defend himself.

  • Times2

    @Arnold of NY: Can you PLEASE give us the source of your claim that Bob was a crystal meth addict. That is a sensational allegation, and it should be explained. Otherwise, it should be deleted.

    @Thomas: Yes, you are right. It’s time to grow the fuck up. For example, you should grow up and learn that people don’t require adherence to your values to deserve empathy and compassion. I’m so sick of hearing this. Do you also lack empathy for men with AIDS because they shouldn’t have had unsafe sex? How about the smokers with emphysema and lung cancer? The overweight people with diabetes? How about poor people on government assistance? Are they all just people who need to grow the fuck up? Or is you who needs to do that?

    Circuit boys and obsessed gym bunnies are usually going through a stage that passes. I seriously doubt that they end up alone any more than anyone else. It must be a comforting narrative for you, though. As long as you don’t subscribe to that life, you’re safe. Reminds me of when we all avoided poppers and S&M because we were told they caused AIDS.

    Ugh. Really. Ugh.

  • Arnold of NY

    @Quasimodo: @Quasimodo: I believe that at the request of the family there was no autopsy performed even though friends requested this. So I can’t be sure he was using at the time surrounding his death. And I can’t be sure of the extent of his use.

    I apologize for making what may be an inaccurate statement about his meth use. I believe they say that addiction is a self diagnosed malady… so who am I to say he was an addict.
    In some way I’m trying to make sense of this tragedy, so please understand that. Many people function well and with long lives with sometimes considerable daily drug and alcohol use.

    I guess it was that he was someone living from the outside in. Rather than from the inside out. And for a therapist particularly, this must have been a painful life.

  • I get it too

    Thomas, criticizing someone for not being lucky enough to be in a stable relationship (if that is what they desire) and for putting themselves out there (at parades, clubs, etc.) to actually try to meet people, is extremely unkind of you. There are many who would like nothing better and yet that is not the card they were dealt.

    And your life isn’t more “real” than that of those of us who are not as lucky as you are to actually be in a stable relationship. Attitudes like that are a major part of the problem for why some of the rest of us are not doing well.

    I was dumped a couple of years ago, through no fault of my own, after a 10 year relationship that I thought was stable. I am fine being single, but I would like to date, yet I have found it to be a cruel world out there, and I have to admit to feeling despondent about aging from time to time. What normal person wouldn’t???? How are people like me supposed to feel when we read comments like yours?

  • Elloreigh

    “ixated on youth and physical vitality”? Um, that describes American culture more generally.

    I “aged out of the scene” before I ever had a chance to discover it, so perhaps I have a different perspective. Since I never had that experience, I never developed the need to remain youthful to maintain my place in it.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There is no one way to be gay. I’ve watched so many people fall into this trap that gay youth culture, centered on clubs, parties, events, etc. is the definition of what it means to be gay.

    We either die young or age. No one who lives a normal life expectancy can hope to evade the latter forever. We can debate whether it’s harder to be popular and losing that as one ages, versus being average and aging, but it’s really a moot point. Age catches up with all of us eventually, and it doesn’t matter how fit we keep ourselves or how in touch we try to stay with the changing times – at some point the age difference between you and the young guys coming of age is going to be too wide, and they’re not going to look upon you as being one of their own. Get a life and deal with it. Or spend your life just like many other straight/gay/bi/whatever men, longing for your “glory days”.

    I choose moving forward with my life. I accepted a long time ago that young gay guys have no interest in me or lessons I’ve learned from my lifetime of experience. Don’t misinterpret that as being bitter, though. The “generation gap” doesn’t apply just to straight people. It’s a natural phenomenon, one I know is pointless to fight, so I won’t waste my time and energy wishing it were different. It’s just the way things are, and I accept that.

  • oh well

    Agreed Thomas at 110. The Circut queens, twinks, and body builders who are narcissistic and obsessed with their self image make their own misery and it’s their choice to do this. LGBT pride events are now and have been for the past few decades or in my lifetime all about body image, booze/drugs, and pointless consumerism and tourism and not about LGBT rights or LGBT visibility at all.

  • I get it too

    Something I always wonder regarding all the curmudgeons who feel so obliged to register their disapproval of other people’s supposedly superficial lives compared to their own “superior” choices:

    If they are really so happy, then why are they so angry at everyone who are not like them?

  • Sir Alexis

    @Maury D: Excellently put.

  • I get it

    @I get it too @ No. 117: This is one of those times I wish there was a “Like” button on Queerty.

    Long ago, in a moment when I was particularly disgusted–not because I was rejected in any way but because I had just talked to a number of men who recently were treated with a complete lack of empathy–I updated my profile to read as follows:

    “I don’t understand how a group that is so vocal about acceptance can be so non-accepting of their own brethren.”

    Not a lot has changed in the last 15 years.

  • nikko

    @Thomas: Right on, THOMAS. Perfect. Fuck the naysayers.

  • JON

    I get it, too, and am saddened though not surprised by the harsh and judgmental responses by some of the posters. Bob’s death says a lot about the difficulty we gay men have in our lives.
    Let me put it this way:
    1. As children–from a very early age–we realize that there is something fundamentally “wrong” with us, a message reinforced in school but most importantly in our own families.
    2. No matter how loving our parents eventually become (never a given) these early scars never go away.
    3. I was very good looking as a young man, and while I enjoyed it, there was something fundamentally unreal about it, because IT WAS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF SOCIAL VALIDATION AS A GAY MAN.
    4. And when that goes, and we get older, that’s a hard lesson to work through, because you have to work through (1) and (2) and most of us don’t ever want to go back there. I don’t think, in fact, you can “work through” it.
    My view: Bob was lost, and in this way we all are.

  • matt

    @I get it too: I would agree with you that people are being overly judgmental but in a way they have a point. I’m 23 and I somewhat participate in the sex/party/drugs lifestyle but the reality is, this sort of stuff in the gay community is basically designated for 18-30 year olds only. If that is the main focus of your life you’re going to be in for a world of hurt when you get older, which is why I try to live a balanced life with more variety because I know that things don’t stay the same forever.

  • Thomas

    @I get it too: I appreciate your point of view. I apologize if it seemed like I was only lauding those who can be in stable relationships. There is nothing wrong, in the least, with being single at any age. Some people prefer to be single, but then you can’t have it both ways and whine about how people who are in stable relationships have things that their single counterparts do not. Well, I mean you CAN whine, this is a free country, but don’t expect sympathy.

    What I was really trying to address is this message that pervades our culture, that was set up in the 1970’s, that being gay is all about Fun! and Sex! and Spontaneity! and Uninhibited Living! and Hot Bodies! and Cool Friends!–and we are taught to ride that “thought train” and not try to encourage long-term relationships, self-acceptance, and a true identity that has nothing to do with abs, genitals, or manhunt profiles. Then, when that train lets people off for being “too old to ride” they’re angry, depressed, upset, and alienated and DON’T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the fact that THEY CHOSE TO GET ON THAT TRAIN.

    There are so many gay men in our society that are having their first real relationships (or trying to start the process of dating) in their late 30’s or early 40’s (or later!) and have no idea how to navigate the ebs and flows of a relationship because they haven’t engaged in real puppy love and progressively more concrete relationships in their younger years (some with good reason due to cultural or regional attitudes toward LGBT people). They find themselves unprepared to maintain close relationships and then feel isolated later when their friends (gay or straight) pair off. This is doubly dangerous because they also haven’t cultivated the most important relationship: the relationship with their true self. Then they are depressed, despondent, and not able to enjoy life.

    I love gay men so much, but until we can try to grow up and love ourselves and love other people, we will continue to seek external happiness that does not fulfill us and continue to be addicted to drugs, sex, alcohol, and be subject to poverty, disease, and death.

    We have to take responsibility, though, and that means not reducing everyone’s self worth to their body, their bank account, or their sexual prowess. I know, that doesn’t sound like any “fun”, but that’s kind of what growing up is about.

    But what the fuck do I know, I’m a 29 year-old with a degree in theater.

  • Philip


    Thomas, I completely agree with you. At age 29, I was not actively seeking a long-term relationship, however I fortunately met a guy with whom I fell in love. I learned that it was mutual. I decided that I should invest in the relationship since we were in love, and since I decided that if we did ever break up, that I might never find another guy that had me so satisfied. Well, even though the culture all around us was non-supportive of long-term gay men in a long-term relationship, we decided to do other activities that did not have us hanging out in “meat markets” for our social life. This decision saved our lives, because this was in 1979. We spent the next many years burying many friends from coast to coast whom we lost to AIDS. We saw other really good bright people become ruined by drugs, booze, or both. We were never wall flowers, though. We have been active in gay politics ( there used to be lots of demonstrations), gay hiking and camping, gay book clubs, as well as our mainstream professional organizations. We married in California before Prop 8, and love to travel. We have taken into our home at different times for periods as long as 4 years nieces and nephews from each side of our family, who needed a different environment than one which some of our respective irresponsible straight brothers who are their fathers had inflicted on them.
    In other words, we committed to each other to make a real life together, and not to settle for either the 2nd class citizenship which straight society offered gays for most of our relationship, nor to uncritically examine what gay society has been offering gays, single or coupled, during the same period. Lots of the hedonism in gay circles is often a salve for the wounds that we have felt from being an oppressed minority. Of course, it’s much better today, but not ideal, and varies greatly from city to city.
    My partner and I have really been lucky, but as I also know, we worked really hard for some of our “luck”. I am recounting this so that young guys today know that they do have an option not to fall for the entertainment that the gay party and circuit scene offer, and instead mistakenly consider it to be a “total immersion life” which is fulfilling. It is not, not for the long term. Although many individuals ‘age out” of the party and circuit scene, a great many more have either died from it, or are left with addictions and mental situations that are truly sad.
    While really good in so many ways, my partner and I have had our share of life’s problems too. However, it is much better to confront such issues as a team, rather than totally alone. I know that how we lived is not for everyone, and this is fine. However, young guys need to know that there really are alternatives worth investigating, instead of a life of the bar, party, circuit scene.

  • John

    having lived here and over seas I find that I get on much better there. As a 51 year old queer man there is less judgement and more community. Something I find almost impossible to find here. As we get older we have a lot to figure out but since we seem to ignore the elders of our community both straight and gay how will we learn to find our way?

  • Times2

    @Thomas: I am seriously wondering where you live and what bubble you’re inhabiting. Of course, your critique of men living the party life has value. But those people represent a young minority and most outgrow it.

    And it’s not surprising that many gay men do go through this stage. Most of us didn’t have a very fun adolescence. And gay men are…men. It’s a cliche, but our hedonism doesn’t have the same inhibiting factors (like raising a family) that straight men have.

    I’ve been in a relationship for 20 years. I like what you say about negotiating the ebb and flow of relationships. Most people — including straight people — don’t understand that it’s natural to fall in love, out of love, back in love ad infinitum in a relationship. Instead of waiting it out with this understanding, they run to divorce court.

    But I don’t think any of this is particular to gay men. The partiers are most conspicuous but they certainly don’t represent a majority, not even close to a majority. Most DO end up taking responsibility for themselves, even without motives like raising a family.I do wonder — another cliche — if people who harp on this theme aren’t looking for legitimacy of their own bad feelings about themselves.


    As for the critique by someone that the values of the ’70s persist and damage the gay community: This is something that only someone who didn’t go through the ’70s could say. First of all, realize that having sex and being conspicuous about your sexual appetites was literally considered civil disobedience in those years. Many, many men went to jail before the still-very-recent legalization of gay sex.

    Also, the gay ’70s, the epoch of “gay liberation,” were characterized by alliance with other civil rights movements. Like women, we began to experience our bodies without all the taboos. We even took pleasure in our outlaw status, producing a tidal wave of intellectuality and art that morphed into the discourses of queer theory and the like. And we took to the streets, an absolute necessity to break through the wall behind which we were sequestered as criminals. The Mattachine Society refused to do that. It even supported “humane” treatment of the inherent mental illness of homosexuals. And they accomplished just about nothing.

    I wish the public schools would include gay history in their teaching. It is just astounding how superficially people describe our history, choosing only to see our dicks at play. I urge everyone to look further.

  • Xerxes


    The Mattachine Society had two main groups, West Coast and East Coast, originally in Los Angeles (and San Francisco), and then also in Washington, DC headed by the one-man gay pioneer (very recently deceased in his 80’s) Frank Kameny. A branch tried to get of the ground in NY, but did not go far, same for one in Chicago, and scattered individuals nationally. The Washington DC group had a very good history. It organized the very first gay pride demonstrations ever at the White House, the Pentagon, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, US Civil Service Commission, in NY at the United Nations and other locations. These constituted the first public demonstrations for gay rights. The collection of signs used is now both at the US Library of Congress (DC) and the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History (DC).
    The numbers demonstrating were small, but the magnitude of the news impact was incredible. These occurred in the 1960’s, as the “Lavender Scare” was still occurring in society. Gays were summarily fired from the federal government and most state governments. Gays, once outed as simply being gay, lost or could not get a security clearance. Police departments all over America were compiling lists of “known or avowed homosexuals” who often then became unemployable.
    Time Magazine, the NY Times, The Washington Post, and all the national media carried the information about the ground-breaking demonstrations. These brave people all demanded nothing less than full equality for gays and lesbians. Kameny used the phrase “Gay is Good”. Given the context of when this was all occurring, it was HUGE. Many isolated gays all over America began migrations
    to the cities of America, especially San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC to meet other gays. It was in this backdrop that Stonewall occurred in 1969, and then, the rest is history! So, I take exception to the statement that the Mattachines accomplished nothing. It later spawned numerous other groups such as the radical lesbian Daughters of Bilitis, the Gay Activist Alliance (still working hard in Washington DC) and others.

  • JRC

    Gay men can adopt. Your comment is very ignorant. Some of your conclusions are correct, but the generalizations that you make are incorrect, not based on what family life is like for married gay men, and should be directed to the party scene, not all gays.

  • JRC

    @JRC: This was supposed to be directed at an earlier comment…

  • Arnold of NY

    From the people I know who were close to Bob it is clear that he greatly helped many people as a therapist. And he helped his friends and family, whom he loved. And who loved him. His loss is a tragedy. It helps me to understand and appreciate the depths of his misery and isolation to consider that he was an addict, and as such felt no other was out. May he rest in peace.

  • Thomas

    @Times2: I’m not living in a bubble, I live in a major US city, thank you very much. Here’s a sad newsflash for you: growing up anywhere sucks, gay or straight. Some people have an ok adolescence, but most people hate it and have some pretty horrible emotional scars from it. Tough shit. Use that pain and channel it into something positive or just get the fuck over it. No one promised you a rose garden.

    I’m not going to condescend to you, as you did to me, but I will say your entire treatise is very much founded on the identity of victimhood that continues to paralyze our community. That victim identity permeates our culture and is used time and again to justify our stunted adolescence and continued proliferation of warped values.

    So what if I didn’t live through the 1970’s? I have read plenty of gay history. I’m tired of older gay guys telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you’re all misremembering? So yeah, you were arrested for just “being gay”. So yeah, it was a crime and you had to demonstrate to pave the way for the rights of younger people like me. Thank you for your pioneering efforts, now would you mind if we leave the Crisco Disco nonsense in the 1970’s and capitalize on all the progress we have made? And, shall we be reminded that all of that free love and “experiencing our bodies without taboos” brought us AIDS in the 1980’s?

    I just think we need to acknowledge those days, but not continue to live them out. It runs in contradiction to our desire to be equal. Stop playing the victim, stop making yourself one.

  • JON

    Hello Thomas,

    I’m not quite sure what your disagreement is with Times2, but would you not agree that–despite the truth that adolescence is tough whether gay or straight — that there is a fundamental difference for gay kids growing up in a heterosexual family? To recognize that damage is not victimization, it is fact.

    It’s certainly easier to be gay in America now than it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago — but it’s still not easy. Let’s recognize our shared history, and challenges. It’s not so different today.

  • Christoph


    What, in God’s name, does homosexual behavior have to do with “extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices?” You’ve chosen to be provocative at the expense of making sense.

    If you mean that some homosexuals’ idolization of machismo is proto-fascistic, you consign by that logic the fantasy life of a wide spectrum of heterosexual women [and young boys] to that persuasion. Come to think of it–the mindset of heroic culture in toto; the military, sports, politics, etc., etc. Every celebration of “manliness” under the sun.

    With one or two exceptions every homosexual I know is either a grandfather or a biological father who figured out what he really wanted, erotically. And I know plenty of straight men who chose not to procreate. So much for your argument in favor of hetero- and bisexual lifestyles.

  • Times2

    @ Xerxes, No. 126.

    Hey, Xerxes. Of course, you’re right. My familiarity with the Mattachine Society is mainly through Harry Hay, who started the original group in CA 10 years or so before the DC group appeared.

    It is true that the CA group was quite conflicted over the degree of activism. Harry was expelled from the Mattachine Society for his leftist/Communist connections. Other original leaders, regarded as too radical and aggressive, left with him. While the group certainly was of tremendous value in the history of our movement, it was excessively timid from the viewpoint of people like Harry. The shift in direction of the group was an almost eerie foreshadowing of the conflict that began to simmer between “assimilationists” and GLF types in the ’80s and, in the view of some (of us), has indeed turned “normalization” into a postmodern closet.

    I think maybe queer theory, part of my phd studies, focuses more on these formative, ideological years.

    You are right, though, that the DC group that arose 10 years later was far more activist. I don’t even associate that period with the Mattachines. Those phrases you mentioned, “Lavender Scare” and “Gay is Good,” startled me. I am old enough that I remember reading them in news weeklies when I was in middle- and high school. I recall opening an issue of Life Magazine from that time about gay life in NY, inspired by the political events. The pics were shadowy and scary, and I most remember the bizarre “disclosure” that gay men are obsessed with sneakers.

    But, see, I need a better education in queer history too!

  • Arnold of NY

    From the people I know who were close to Bob it is clear that he greatly helped many people as a therapist. And he helped his friends and family, whom he loved. And who loved him. His loss is a tragedy. It helps me to understand and appreciate the depths of his misery and isolation to consider that he was an addict, and as such felt no other way out. May he rest in peace.

  • Times2

    @Thomas, #130

    A. I was not addressing the comments about the ’70s to you, but I understand that you could take them that way. In any case, they are not the advocacy you assume they are. They are a description of what it was like. The meaning of the phenomena of that time in terms of behavior today seems quite decided in your own mind, without room to consider otherwise. Which is fine by me. There’s nothing to be gained by arguing about it.

    B. And, yes, adolescence is miserable for many people. I refer you to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” videos for some idea of how gay people might experience it differently from straight people. This seems to be widely understood by the culture these days. Do you think it’s a propaganda effort to keep gay kids feeling like victims? Are those videos promoting victimhood? Do those little gay fuckers need to shut up and quit acting like victims.

    It does shock me that you would not see the difference. Straight people aren’t bullied and tortured until they kill themselves because of whom they love. Gay kids still seldom get to experience the rituals of sexual and romantic initiation with guidance and loving support. But none of that’s a reason to hang out in clubs and act like an ass, right? Man up!

    C. You write of me: “your entire treatise is very much founded on the identity of victimhood that continues to paralyze our community. That victim identity permeates our culture and is used time and again to justify our stunted adolescence and continued proliferation of warped values.”

    Exactly how am I promoting victimhood by advocating freedom to love whom you choose and fighting for it? How is not predicting lives of misery because men and women of all sexual identities choose to party while they’re young? Who is disapproving? Who is victimizing people?

    It’s certainly true that we do have a problem with addiction and rising HIV infection rates among the young. I’m curious how you suggest dealing with this. Public spankings?f

    D. The meme of victimhood was predictable. But nothing was more predictable than the lecture to the Tyrannus Old Queen — we dinosaurs who continue to writhe in the fetid pit of indiscriminate sex where we conjured AIDS by violating the taboo of Levitcus and dared to fuck. Meanwhile the disease spread like wildfire in Africa. I guess those Africans went wild listening to the Village People. But whatever. Again, who’s doing the victimizing?

    I’m not going to respond to your ageist final graf with an equally hackneyed attack on the young. I’m sorry you feel so victimized, though.

  • Robert Stone

    @I get it: Look around. There are a lot of gay men over 40 with increasing wrinkles and other signs of aging. You’ve got a lot of company to keep you company, and there’s no reason we can’t find happiness within our own age group. I don’t begrudge younger men’s negative judgment of our age. We all are judgmental about growing older. When I was 25, I didn’t want to date someone 40+, so why should I expect someone 25 or even 35 to date me now. If all I am left with at the age of 48 is the opportunity to date someone my own age or older, then I’m left with a lot. If we waste our lives regretting what we once had that we no longer do, and can’t be grateful for the experience, knowledge and wisdom we have gained by now, which can provide us with very good lives if we allow it, then we’re worse than the younger guys who don’t want us. The reality is that those younger guys will get older too. Barring death, that’s what happens to us all. So, why envy where younger guys are now? We had our time to be young, and now it’s their time. We need to be grateful for what’s good about our lives now, not what we perceive as not good.

  • I get it

    @Robert Stone: Sorry, friend. At no point did I say I want men younger than I am. I don’t. I mean, what they hell do you talk about?!! But the desire to have a man younger than 40 isn’t limited to the men of that age group; it’s also many men in their 40s, 50s, and older who won’t even consider anyone their own age. Granted, it’s no huge loss since I really wouldn’t want a guy who’s so superficial that he can’t imagine being with someone of his own generation.

    Just because I am an insecure man who is becoming more insecure because I’m starting to show signs of aging, don’t assume I want to be younger or envy those who are. Ultimately I want a mature man, someone who is at approximately the same point in his life as I am in mine. This isn’t about fucking; it’s about emotional connections. And it’s not all about finding “the right man” (or “the right now man”); it’s about developing friendships and having people around me. Lately I think more about sharing a meal or laughing together about a movie than I do who’s topping whom.

    I’m fully aware that there are a lot of men out there in the same boat. The question is, how do you find them? We talk about community, but those of us who don’t have the desire to drink, dance, or spend 4 hours each day in the gym, also don’t really congregate. I’ve heard suggestions about clubs and groups for men with similar interests, but where are they? How do you find out about them? I know that a lot of people meet others through their friends, but almost all of mine have moved on and no longer live in Boston. I often long for an adult equivalent of a gay bar, a place to meet and talk where the music isn’t so loud that it further damages my hearing, where the primary concern isn’t about with whom you’re going home, but making real connections–yet where I don’t have to worry about the fact that I apparently have no gaydar. I don’t want my life to be totally “homocentric,” but it also helps to know that a man will be receptive to some friendly banter, and not flip out because a gay man approached him.

    Yes, I’m horny. But more than that, I’m lonely–and scared that I always will be.

  • willnatl

    I was talking to a friend recently — he’s 62 and I’m 57. I mentioned, with some amazement, that I’m having the best sex of my life and he agreed that was the case with him too. With age comes maturity and I just don’t give a shit what other people think, where I might have been hung up about it at a younger age. It indeed gets better, at least for me.

  • Adrian

    @I get it too: I believe part of my comment shows empathy and kindness towards the family. That’s as much as I can give in this case.

  • Robert Stone

    @I get it: Totally understand the first paragraph of your response to my post. I didn’t mean to imply that you wanted a younger man. I was responding to your statement that so many others do want younger men, and that I personally am not looking for that. My apology for not writing a clearer response. It was late, and I’d read so many of the comments about the Bob Bergeron incident, and I was probably responding more to the aggregated sentiment that life over 40 sucks because we no longer have the youth, or the attention we once had.

    More specifically about your original and follow up comments:

    Your statement that, “The only differences between me and Bergeron are that he was much better looking, much more successful, and actually had the balls to get off the merry-go-round” would seem to imply that you are in a really bad place. There are better ways to deal with aging than suicide, and I hope you will discover them. If you have other issues that exacerbate your insecurity about aging, it might be time to seek the assistance of a therapist, or a new therapist, if you are currently working with one and are not seeing enough progress. I’ve been working with a great one for the past three years, about a lot of issues, including how to redefine my life as a middle aged gay man. I’ll admit that aging has its downside that most of us, straight or gay, deal with, but there is a huge upside to it if you are willing and able to find it.

    It’s unclear to me if your growing insecurity is about the signs of aging specifically, among them your wrinkles and limp dick (your words not mine), or if these signs of aging are reminders of your growing loneliness. The lines and limp dick themselves don’t cause loneliness. The lack of social interaction is more likely the culprit here. Not wanting to drink or dance or spend a ton of time at the gym don’t have to limit your social interaction. Many people our age also don’t want to drink, dance or spend our lives at the gym. It’s good to hear you ask the questions about where to meet gay men our age. It seems to me that you are willing to make an effort if someone could show you how and where to take the first step.

    I understand where you are coming from. I’m a good-looking, successful 48 year-old guy who no longer has access to the easy social connections that younger gay men make at clubs, bars and at the gym. I’m ok with that because those social connections couldn’t provide me with the deeper connections and experiences I crave at this point in my life. I don’t have all of the answers, but I can tell you how I approached finding meaning and connection over the past few years. I started playing a sport. I joined a gay league to do this. Most of the guys I play with are younger than I am, but there are guys my age, too. We play in a straight league, and I’ve also joined one of the straight teams. The league is primarily male, but there are straight and lesbian women who also play. What this has provided me with is the opportunity to meet and socialize regularly with men and women, from ages 23 – 65, straight and gay, from all walks of life. We share in common our love of the sport. We play it together, and we go watch professional games as fans. After our own games, we usually go to a sports bar, but sometimes to gay bars. Yes, I am among the oldest, and when we go to a gay bar, I am a bit of the odd man out. But, my teammates/friends are there with me, and for me, it’s about the experience of connecting with them more than connecting with other guys at the bar. That said, with my friends there, I can relax enough to not feel like the odd man out, and I’ve met a lot of guys while we’ve been out, some younger, some my own age. Some of my best friends that came from playing the sport are ones I stay in touch with several times a week. They’ve become a bit of a family for me.

    You may or may not be interested in sports, but there are opportunities to connect with gay men based on other interests. I wouldn’t necessarily look for groups based on age, rather affinity for something else. It gives you a connecting point that is not age driven, so that it allows you to connect initially around an interest that will bind you together, and subsequently upon friendship or romantic chemistry. Where you find that group depends on where you live. I’m in NYC, and if you live near here, I can give you some options. It may be more difficult if you live outside of a city.

    It occurs to me that even a place like this is a starting point for older gay men to connect. There are several of us here who have commented on the article. Maybe there is a way for us to get in touch with each other and get together, if we are in the same geographic location, or talk by email if there is a distance between us. We may or may not find that we have enough in common to have a friendship or more, but it may be worth exploring. The reality is that there are a lot of men age 40 and over who want and need to connect. It’s just going to take some effort to do so.

    Let me know your thoughts.

  • Sean

    @Robert Stone:

    The tragedy of Bob Bergeron invokes the discussion of so many relevant issues for “aged” gay men. I have been reading the comments with great interests. It may seem that people occasionally are at odd with each other, but I frankly think that people just need to realize that they offer their observations from different perspectives. Some spoke as friends or acquaints of Mr. Bergeron’s. More people used this tragedy to address more general issues gay men face. In the latter case, it is not about Mr. Bergeron any more. I can see why people who are related to or identify with Mr. Bergeron may feel certain ways, but I don’t think that anyone was particularly mean-spirited.

    Many people have offered intelligent comments on how gay men should cultivate personal interests beyond the youth value. I particularly like Robert Stone’s idea: maybe we can form a group for people who care about this issue to socialize with each other. There seem to be quite a few people from the northeast region. Perhaps, we can have a few seasonal meetings per year. We can also form a facebook group to keep in touch with and support each other.

  • Xerxes


    Thanks for your feedback. There are several gay book clubs here in the metro Washington, DC area. One of them just read “The Lavender Scare” by David K. Johnson. It very well documents the highlights of the era. Johnson will be speaking at a PRIDE event at the US Department of State in June, sponsored by the Gays and Lesbians In Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA). What an interesting event this will be, since the US Department of State formerly had the harshest policy against gays. Of course, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has been the best supporter of gays and lesbians in government service that there ever has been, and President Obama appointed an openly gay man, John Berry, as the Director of the entire federal work force, the Office of Personnel Management.

    Frank(lin) Kameny was a giant in the gay rights movement. I am privileged to have originally met him while in high school, and then again while in grad school. He was a regular fixture at all sorts of gay events in the DC area until shortly before his death a few months ago. He counseled hundreds of fired gay and lesbian government workers, led the movement to stop police entrapment of gays, as well as stopping the bar raids and maintaining lists by the police. In a beautiful act filled with irony, the federal government under President Clinton and President Obama gave him special recognition for his lifetime work for gay rights. His papers are now at the US Library of Congress. He was a Harvard PhD astronomer who was fired by the federal government for being gay during the Lavender Scare.

  • Dionte

    I think older men at hawt, problem is most of em pay me no attention. :-/ 20 year old chase me down.

  • Jonathan

    @Robert Stone: Great idea!

  • Jonathan

    btw, some of us are not on facebook

  • Times2

    @xerxes, 142. Are you Iranian? Just curious because of the name.

    Well, you were apparently luckier than me in your experience. I did hang out with Harry Hay a few times — first at a Radical Faerie thing (with John Burnside) and later during his weird NAMBLA period. The last time I saw him was at Stonewall 25 in NY where he joined the “alternative” march with the NAMBLA people. He was part of a sex workshop led by Pussy Tourette, Scott O’Hara and a trans sex worker, etc. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my gay life.

  • I get it

    @Robert Stone, Sean, et al:

    First, Robert, thank you. You’re clearly a thinking and considerate man, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I want to make it clear that I am not suicidal, but there are days when I feel it wouldn’t be the worst thing if I were to pass away in my sleep. I guess it’s passive thoughts of death, just not wanting to keep going through the motions, but also not wanting to do anything about it.

    Yes, I understand how morbid it is.

    I do want to put myself out there, but it seems the longer I wait, the harder it is. Up until a couple of years ago, I had a roommate and friend–younger than I was–who was kind of like an annoying little brother. If he thought I was nesting for too long, he’d nag the hell out of me until getting out of the house was the only option. There were times when I wanted to kill him–MANY times–but hindsight is 20/20 and I now see that living with him was good for me.

    How I feel about my appearance is a hindrance to me socializing. But, yeah, you’re right that having a hard time getting it up shouldn’t be a factor. But you know what, it is. Before I even say it, I’ll admit this is idiotic: I think about meeting a guy I like and then I project out over time and that, if we really like each other eventually it will get to the bedroom, and then I’ll be so nervous that it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy–and I let that stop me.

    Like I said, I’m aware that’s stupid. Doesn’t make me not feel it, though.

    I like the idea of forming a group–it’s the type of think I’ve always wanted–but now I’m kind of embarrassed to meet any of you. The anonymity here has given me the freedom to say things that I wouldn’t have had the balls to talk about face-to-face. I mean, the fact that I have trouble getting hard is not something I share, you know? Maybe I can get one of those Men in Black little flashy-thing memory-messer-upper.

    It does seem appropriate that the comments section for this story about Bob Bergeron, a man who from most accounts helped many people, has taken such a positive turn. Most of the follow-up here on Queerty tends to decay into name-calling, insults, and general bitchiness. I, for one, appreciate everyone who has put some thought into their responses.

  • Robert Stone

    @Sean: Sean, how do you, I, and anyone else who is interested get in touch so we can get this thing started? If feels necessary and full of potential to improve ours and others’ lives.

  • Robert Stone

    @I get it: It seems to me that you are a bit hard on yourself. Words like idiotic and stupid probably won’t improve your situation. For the record, nearly every man I know over 40 has had at least some issues with getting erections the way they used to. It’s part of aging. I don’t think it’s idiotic at all to worry about the moment when you have to perform and may fail. A guy who is worth having in your life will be patient. Also, there’s an easy fix these days with Viagra, Cialis, etc. So many guys, including younger guys, use these drugs. Using them is often a temporary solution until you have established a level of intimacy and trust with someone where performance anxiety is no longer an issue. In other cases, people rely on these drugs long-term. Either way, there is a solution, one that MANY guys our age use. You’re simply normal for your age. Once you accept that, and the wrinkles, etc., it doesn’t really matter what others think. As I said in an earlier post, if you look around, you will find others in your same position.

    I’m going to see what I can do about forming a group. I’m glad that you are interested. As for being embarrassed about what you’ve shared, know that I have no judgment about it, and I know there are others who won’t judge either. How can they when we are all sharing the same experiences? Let’s make something of this opportunity to connect. The circumstances that brought us here are unfortunate, but the ability to support each other as we face the challenges of being middle age or older. We don’t need bars or gyms to connect and be part of a community, and we can celebrate the benefits of life as we age.

    I don’t know what the rules are at Queerty about sharing our emails with each other, but I’ll work on finding a way for us to connect outside of this domain. Stay tuned. And, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and responding to others’ thoughts. You helped to start what could potentially become something meaningful and useful to many of us.

  • kumar

    I dont know why r u ppl are afraid to be lonely.You will died alone eventually.You people should be thankful that you live in a country that allows homosexual.My homophobic country will send you to prison if you are caught in the act of sodomy.Another reality check, some country like iranian persecuted gay people.I hate white people who evolves around themselves only. In some part in middle eastern country, gay men got beaten and dragged around the town.They are punished far more worse than any creature that i could possibly imagine. One of the reason, i dont like to date white people. I love them as a brother but not a lover.

  • I get it

    @kumar: Any gay man here in the U.S. with any depth of personality whatsoever is aware of the persecution of homosexuals elsewhere on the planet. And I certainly understand your disdain for those of us who, admittedly, have so much more than others. But our desires are shaped by our personal situations.

    It is normal for humans to want more, but “more” depends on what your starting point is. My state was the first in the U.S. to permit gay marriage. When I was younger, I never even considered that would be possible. In fact, it was a big deal for me when I saw young male couples and young female couples holding hands openly. There are times when I hear younger men seeking more equality and I think to myself, “But you already have so much more than I did.”

    Talk to those who are 20 or 30 years older than I am, though–or even those who are the same age I am or younger, but live in less liberal parts of the United States–and chances are they feel the same way about me as I feel about young people today. It’s all relative. We are very lucky in the U.S. to have the freedoms we have, and it is understandable that you and others elsewhere in the world would feel the same about us as we feel about those who are our juniors, albeit more so because the gap is so much wider. But things are not perfect here. We, too, have had recent incidents where people have been beaten because others did not accept who they are, even though it is far fewer than other places.

    These freedoms didn’t just happen, though. They are ours because generations of people before us fought for them, and not just those of us who seek equality regardless of sexual orientation, but also those of particular religions, skin colors, nationalities, genders, and financial brackets. And that fight is perpetual. There will always be room for improvement.

    You deserve more. Everyone should be able to live free from fear that he or she will be persecuted (and prosecuted) because of who they are. Things are changing, but change comes on different timetables.

  • Sean

    @Robert Stone:

    I can set up an email list and have everyone who is interested send an email to this email to get things started… But how much interest among posters do we have over here? It may be just you and me. lol

    We can create a facebook group, or create a forum. These two options allow people to share freely and should not take much work.

    I can understand why some people may prefer anonymity. In fact, ideally, any communication medium we choose should have a feature permitting anonymity. But this brings both technical difficulty and maintenance difficulty. I would like to hear thoughts from people here.

  • Danny

    I do not believe that a person decides to kill themselves for one simple reason, in this case that he is getting older. My guess is that there was something inside this person all of his life and it just became magnified as… he got older. The first clue was his “overly positive” outlook. I have found from experience some of the most severely clinical depressed people were to the outside world the most “positive”. To everyone looking at this man, he had it all. The sad truth is, he was mentally ill and being a professional he must have felt so hollow preaching a philosophy that he could not live or support. RIP

  • Robert Stone

    @I get it: Performance ability decreases for most men after 40, so you’re not alone here. It’s uncomfortable and jarring, but there’s an easy fix now with prescription drugs. Many guys I know, including younger ones, use them.

  • Robert Stone

    @Sean: Well, if it’s just you and me, that’s a start. If it never takes off, well, at least we gave it a shot. The anonymity aspect may be a little tricky. Do you want to set up the email list so you and I can take this offline and begin the discussion? I’ll talk to my friends and see if there is any interest. There seems to be a need for some way for gay men over 40 to meet, socialize, share their experiences. My life is quite good already, but this type of community would still be of great interest to me. Where do you live? I’m in NYC.

  • I get it

    @Robert Stone and @Sean: I’d like to be involved, too. I don’t know how to work through the humiliation of what I’ve shared here if we were to meet, but I have got to find a way to meet people.

  • Sean

    @Robert Stone:

    Having a support group actually is a very healthy and poetic development over the Bob Bergeron’s tragedy. Despite that he helped many of his clients with his profession, somehow, he could not help himself. Despite so many “friends” he had on his facebook, somehow he could not find one or two to help him get out of his depression. And now his tragedy inspired us to create such a support group. The universe speaks in a mystic language.

    Therefore, it is rightful that this group does not necessarily have to be big. What is more important is for the members of this group to develop a true and meaningful friendship.

    Standing alone, we are just trees. Bonding together, we are a forest.

    I have created an email account: [email protected] for people in the northeast region. If you are interested in joining this group, please email this account.

  • Sean

    @Robert Stone:
    My partner and I live in Syracuse… We have been together for over 16 years. I am 41, but I started to experience the death of family and friends more and more. I saw how lonely and helpless my grandfather became after his wife of more than 70 years passed away. The last time he had to sleep by himself was before he was 20. And he had to do this again when he was over 90 years old! How could/should he adapt? Being in a couple or not, we all need to learn how to live comfortably alone…

  • Sean

    @I get it:
    I am glad that you decide to join. There is nothing to feel humiliated about. We all have our shares of “issues” and “flaws”. The point is for us to support each other as friends.

  • Times2

    Congratulations, guys. It’s nice to see something supportive come out of this.

  • Robert Stone

    @I get it: I’m glad you decided to join too. If it makes you feel any better, I, too, notice more wrinkles, gray hair and decrease in performance ability. I’ve done Botox and colored my hair, but I gave up on both. Doesn’t mean I won’t try them again. I’ve also worried about performance and have a prescription just in case. I take a pill for high cholesterol. Aging affects us all. But it also provides a lot of positives. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. Anyway, I’m willing to share my stories, both good and not-so-good of it helps others and helps me.

  • I get it

    @Sean: I tried sending an email, but it bounced as a bad email address.

  • Sean

    @I get it:
    Oops… I had a typo in that email address.

    It should be

    [email protected]

    Sorry about that.

  • Sean

    Are you joining the group?

  • jimmy

    I am an average, inshape gay man of 45…I could care less who accepts me! We all age, big deal….the 20 somethings now will be 30, 40, 50 in a blink of an eye. Get off the hook-up sites, find some friends and enjoy life!
    PS say what you want, but a 20 something has NOTHING in common with a 40 or 50 something

  • Times2

    @Sean: I would, but I don’t live in the Northeast. This is a real-life group, as I understand it, no?

  • Franz

    @John: Well, John, not all therapists are “insane,” but all are human and all have those so-called “issues” that humans are prone to. A therapist is like a wilderness guide: you can’t possibly lead anyone out of the wilderness if you haven’t been lost and found your own way out. None of us really know why this man killed himself, but the evidence seems to point at a fear of aging. Aging is a very real threat. After 50, most men become “invisible” to other men. Women suffer the same fate. Isolation sets in and thoughts of our mortality must be confronted.

    Few people in their twenties, except those dealing with terminal illnesses or a spiritual crisis, confront such a dilemma. Unless, of course, the young person who is not beautiful by our culture’s standards. And these standards are proudly displayed in the photos and news feeds that dominate this site. Almost all gay sites are the same. The preoccupation with youth and beauty. And why? Because this attracts readers, thus advertisers.

    That gay men, who have suffered so much discrimination, should impose the hatred of a natural process such as aging on their own kind is the height of absurdity and stupidity. Freud would say we’ve “identified with the aggressor”: the heterosexual culture that has reduced women to objects useless after age 40, if not much earlier. I wonder, as a group, if we will ever grow up?

  • AriesSiren

    this breaks my heart. you should embrace your age and yourself. if your getting rejected, maybe you should hang with a different crowd and be more social. maybe a more positive setting other than a club or bar. i love all men/women of any age. it just depends on the person if they are genuine and caring. thats what matters. if your 18 or 80, no one should be ignored, it hurts and its just rude. im sure he was in intense pain. its sad our community is so vain. say hello to your fellow gays. that acknowledgement could really brighten their day. everyone gets old. age gracefully and work at your friendships is my advice. build them and cherish them. you might just find yourself alone one day. friendships/relationships take work. its worth it. no one succeeds in life without a good support system. peace and love.

  • AriesSiren

    damn dude, your heartless. everyones pain is different and is their own. your stone cold man

  • Mark

    I think the callous and sardonic nature of many of the comments on this thread is pretty indicative of why the gay community has so many issues. We cry big fat tears when the straight world is not empathetic of us–yet when it is our turn to be compassionate we let each other have it with both barrels. It’s a shame more men here aren’t honoring Bob for the work he was trying to do to help his gay brothers.

    Bob may have had his own demons but from the contact I had with him (and from what I have read about him since his death) he was a good man who was working hard to help gay men over forty find a healthier outlook on life when they find themselves largely ostracized by a culture that worships youth and beauty. I didn’t always agree with his approach or philosophy but at least he was doing more than just standing around and bitching about the status quo. At least he was invested in helping gay men and making a positive difference in our community. I think it is also important to remember that he was trying to market a book–and you have to meet people where they’re at if you are going to reach and engage them. I am sure the book would have offered deeper insights than just some of the lighter points Bob touched on in the promo videos and blog he was using to spark interest.

    I have to wonder if his quest to help other men allowed him the ability to express and deal with his own personal doubts, fears and misgivings about getting older. From all accounts Bob helped many clients and was a good friend to many. Let us remember him for his gifts and not his shadows—and may his untimely death help us to continue to learn, grow, and support each other as we face the realities of growing older as gay men.

  • Grayson F

    This is a sad story but not a surprising one. Ageism is a secret in the gay world and how dare anyone bring up a true issue that happens in it. No one cares to stay in the thick of gay life for long as it wears everyone down within a few years and celebrates alcoholism and destructive behavior more thaqn it doesn’t. But, it’s not politically correct to be honest and truthful even when it’s for their own good. Let’s be like the ostrich’s they expect us to be living with our head in the sand.

  • PTBoat

    @Grayson F: Oh, Grayson, you are sadly deluded and sound like a plant for all of those discredited hate groups, like NOM and Focus on the Family, or NARTH. Sorry, being gay is no different than being straight. You are right that living a life in a party world, whether it’s the straight bar scene or the gay bar scene, can be exhausting for most, but it’s not the life that the majority of either groups live.

  • Alexi3

    By all the comments it’s obvious this man’s suicide has struck quite a nearve. Like many who lived through the avalanche of death the during the 80′ and 90’s and recalling my own sexual excesses and pratices, I know how lucky I am to even be here at all. I remember in 1992, not too long before he died, I remember a conversation I had with a very close friend of mine. By that time all of our close friends had already died along with most of the people we’d known. He said: “I wonder what it is going to be like for young gay people who will come of age in the next 15 to 20 years. There won’t be older gay people around to help them along and tell them stories about what the wild, free 70’s were like. They won’t have any memory of what we went through with this epidemic; it will just be ancient history to them. Just something that happened in the past that has no bearing on their lives. Like Jewish survivors of the Holocaust how will those who manage to survive our holocaust manage to live the rest of their lives without feeling guilty that they survived when all of their friends died and how are they ever going to be able let anyone get close to them again. I know that I can’t take anymore loss but I won’t be here much longer”. A few months after this conversation his health took yet another turn for the worse, another long hospital stay and when he finally was able to come home he decided he just couldn’t stand the pain any longer (remember 1993 was before combination therapies) and he made the decision to end his suffering on his own terms and took a massive drug over-dose. I was immensely sad that he was gone, but, I understood why he did what he did. He did not want to find himself back in the hospital hooked up to life support and leaving the decision about whether or not to end his life up to someone else. I didn’t know Bob Bergeron but I know that a person can reach the point where they just don’t want to be in pain any longer – and that’s as valid for psychic pain as physical. None of us knows what he was suffering or for how long he had been enduring it. Like my friend, I wish Bob had made another choice but I understand that for him, for whatever reason, death on his own terms was preferable than one more day of pain.

  • tommy

    I feel bad for this guy, it really struck a nerve. I was depressed for a long time and people avoided me, so I felt had to put on a smile and be happy whenever I went out, and it takes SO much energy to do that every day. He was probably exhausted. I was lucky, I was able to keep moving, even an inch a day, and I was able to find a way out.

    That said, if I spent life counseling “upscale gays” in NY, I’d have a pretty distorted view of reality. Spend a winter in Ohio. That’ll sober you right up lol.

    I’m 51 and I can’t say that any one part of life have been the “best years.” How can you enjoy anything if you walk around thinking that? And the comments where people said that having good friends, both gay and straight, and having other interests than bars and gyms, are right on.

  • -

    I recognize that this is a sad story and his suicide was, in every way, a tragic waste. However, there are plenty of stories about straights who “peaked” at age 18 or 22: “The best high school quarterback in Podunk County!” or “The most beautiful cheerleader that Oak Valley Community College has ever seen!” — and now they’re all in their 40s, weighing 250 lbs. and living in some trailer park somewhere. So while the story is sad, it seems he got wrapped up in the shiny glittery fabulousness — or maybe the musky hunky leatheriness — of superficial gay life. Not sure he deserves any more sympathy than, say, Anita Bryant who peaked in 1958 … as Miss Oklahoma 1958.

  • -

    @Thomas: Well said, thank you.

  • Mark

    I agree, but most straight people who “peak” in their younger years also have other “legitimized” forms of social validation more readily available to them–getting married, becoming a parent, etc. Given how gay culture fetishizes youth and beauty, it is easy to see how many gay men get caught up in that desperate quest to remain relevant and visible in a social reality that makes getting older seem like some kind of personal failing.

    I believe that Bob was trying to teach older gay men a healthy way of coming to terms with age and still manage to live somewhat happily within this same social framework. But for this to happen, in my opinion, there also has to be a fundamental shift in your personal value system–something that usually happens with age–and not something you can easily obtain in a self-help book.

    However, if you are getting older and still worship at the altar of of being young and beautiful, it is easy to see how even a gay therapist could feel hopeless.

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

    I highly recommend reading the book, “The Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs.

  • Dumdum

    FUCK THIS SHIT. BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS I WILL BE DEAD. GAY AND 52 FUCK OFF BITCHES. I HOPE YOUR DICK FALLS OFF AT 20. No one will ever want it after that. Unless they are really old and ugly.

  • gegemec

    My longterm relationship has just ended, due to mental illness in my expartner. I spent years caring for him and now he is unable to cope any more and has gone, leaving me with the dogs, in a strange town we had recently moved to together. I am doing all the right things, getting out and joining clubs etc, and trying hard to keep busy, but my goodness, I am battling with my sadness, which is probably depression now. My ex-partner came complete with his won family, he has 2 daughters, and is very family oriented, and this has left me even more alone. I am seeing a counsellor in a couple of weeks, but its the chasm of being alone that frightens and confronts me.

  • queerty

    This is such a sad story. my therapist often tells me “you are here because you have value and purpose” i see a therapist in encino,ca to manage my bi polar disorder, being gay etc. and she is currently helping me with a burglary.. someone came into my house and took my safe while i was away. i was devastated by the loss. but, i am still here to fight the fight. i am also 41. i learned a lot from tye burglary about attachment. i think we all have serious issues w attachment, to things, memories, money, people, etc etc.. our society has become so into NOW and CHEAP and HURRY and WASTE and ME ME ME! so i decided to stsy away from the news, gossip, gay bars and people who only care about the latest thing that will be forgotten tomorrow. how about donating time to childrens cancer hospital, animal shelter and do something useful.. clean up the beaches , smile once in awhile, stop road raging and pay attention for once! ive had friends die from AIDS in the 90s, i dont have 12300000 friends on fakebook, or instacrap. but i laugh , i love and i dance (well in my home) . i get hit on by young guys, guys my age, older guys.. but big deal. eventually the only thing that matters is your legacy. because guess what? you cant take IT with you!!!

    “im not invested in being “right”.. i am invested in being happy”

    we all need to take 100 percent responsibility for our lives even the bad stuff. life is never perfect, never fair and never easy. for anyone. but if u can be nice to yourself, try spreading that around!

    ive thought about suicide a billion times but then i laughed and say “oh its you again .. there you are. F;)(ck you!” then i give myself the finger and head out for the day!

    just be nice to one another for you never know what anyone may be going through, like the handsome therapist who took his life

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