That gay men idealize youth is not exactly a surprise. But the toll it is taking on us as a community may be. In December, the Journal of Social Science and Medicine published a study found here.
That exposed the problem of "internalized gay ageism" (IGA) -- the feeling that you cease to matter as you get older -- and corresponded it with serious stress and depression in older gay men.
But there's hope (and it doesn't come in a bottle). It's called "mattering." Researchers also found that having a connection to a larger community where your experience mattered was directly linked with greater self-worth and greater happiness. In practice, that means finding ways to connect with gay men of different ages, where everyone's contributions lead to a stronger community.
Unfortunately, relationships -- even friendships -- between older and younger gay men still raise eyebrows. That's another legacy of internalized homophobia, one that paints older gay men as predators and young gay men as gold-diggers. As the founder of Daddyhunt, I hear these types of outdated, narrow-minded assumptions all the time. That's why I've worked so hard to turn what could have been a cookie-cutter dating app into a 24/7 social network where men of all ages meet, talk, date -- and, yes, haters, hook-up.
But after years of stereotypical depictions of intergenerational relationships in TV, porn and movies, it's increasingly clear that our community would do well to shed these hang-ups. We may well be strong, capable and sexual, but without desirable older role models, without a positive, normal vision of what an older gay man can be, we're stunted.
These stereotypes will persist until we topple them. A few months ago, the Daddyhunt team got the idea to put together a video series to do just that; show why the modern daddy is so in demand, and what gay dating looks like for men with a little salt in their beards. What started off as a nugget of an idea has grown to a series, Daddyhunt: The Serial .
Can one story of two men in a New York apartment building undo years of negative stereotypes? Of course not. But can it charm us into realizing we matter? I hope so. I'm posting the series here, but you can share on Facebook here, view exclusive BEHIND THE SCENES here.