Growing Older – Gracefully and Gay


As Pride month kicks into gear, media images of young, built, scantily-clad go-go boys and soulful LGBT teens with their arms draped around each other are sure to follow. Both the mainstream and gay media seem to find these images of gay youth irresistible.

But a spotlight is suddenly shining on the seldom-seen, and perhaps most marginalized, group within the LGBT community: older gays and lesbians. In the soon-to-be released film Beginners, writer/director Mike Mills tells the autobiographical story of his father (played by Christopher Plummer) who came out as gay at age 75 after the death of his wife of 45 years.

“His hunger to completely change his life was confusing, painful, very funny, and deeply inspiring,” says Mills. “The script was developed with the belief that something this personal can become universal. The concrete details of my father’s life, the real struggles, and all the real humor gave the film an authenticity that I hope will make it more powerful and more emotional for all kinds of people.”

Ewan McGregor stands in for Mills as Oliver, the son who must deal with his father’s late-in-life revelation. The father/son relationship is the heart of the film, and just as it did in Mills’ real life, his father’s example ultimately provides the key to success in his own relationship.

Beginners is presented by Focus Features, the company behind other landmark LGBT films including The Kids Are All Right, Brokeback Mountain and MILK.

As Christopher Plummer becomes the first actor to star as a gay septuagenarian in a major Hollywood film (this year’s Oscar race starts now), AARP has just launched an online home for older LBGT Americans:

The new web portal is filled with articles on news, personal finance, relationships, travel, and other topics of concern to older gay Americans, their families, allies and friends. A sampling of the stories include Estate Planning Tips for LGBT Couples, The Gay Man’s Guide to Dating After 50, and advice to parents and grandparents titled: My Child is Gay. Now What?

The simultaneous release of Beginners and AARP’s new LGBT portal bodes well for increasing the visibility and understanding of an enormous group that has been invisible for far too long. It’s never too late to realize that gay life can be good – even after 50.

About The Author

Adam Sandel is a playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, journalist and film critic living in San Francisco, California. He's the film writer for dot429 Magazine and is the host of the internet radio show "Happy Hour" on

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