Dilemma: I'm lonely and gay

Katharine Whitehorn / 11 April 2016

A lonely reader in his 80s has only recently come to terms with being gay and wonders what he can do to find companionship.



Dilemma: I can't keep carrying this secret

I am 82 and alone, having few friends and no relatives. I have many “acquaintances” which are not the same as “friends”. 

I am finally accepting the fact that I am gay – it is hardly the adjective you’d apply if you saw me. I don’t think I’m camp in any way, anything but.

I live alone, I’m not domesticated, I join classes, lunch clubs, day centres, anywhere I can meet other people. 

I believe I can’t go on carrying a secret which has been holding me back for almost the whole of my life. What do I do now?

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

There does seem to be one avenue that, in spite of your admirable attempts to find company, you haven’t found yet, and that’s the gay community. 

Of course there are lots of people who may be upset or alarmed by gay men, and it’s understandable that you’ve been cautious about your nature, especially since it’s not long since you fully realised it yourself. But we don’t live in the early 20th century when gay people could be sent to prison. Many older men who come to terms with being gay in later life find that the climate is very different now, compared to the way things were in their youth.

Most people now are very accepting of gay men and women, and I know many gay-friendly pubs, cafes and bars in my area that host regular gay nights to encourage people in your situation to meet and befriend others.

There are probably pubs in your area where you could meet people for the odd drink, and surely with gay people as with any others, a warm friendship is as good a start of a possible relationship as any other.

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