Friday, June 26, 2009

Some gay seniors embrace a newfound openness, others face isolation

'Mr. Straight" out at 61 with no regrets
via Chicago Tribune, by Rex W. Huppke

Marvin Levin was speaking to his psychiatrist in November 2003. The conversation halted briefly as Levin looked away, collecting a thought that had waited decades to surface.

"You know what?" he said, looking up at his doctor. "I'm gay."

At age 61, married more than 30 years, this was an unlikely admission.

"It was the first time I'd ever put words to that," Levin said. "It was like an epiphany. And then I looked back on my life and said, 'You dummy, of course you are.' "

Read the rest.

Gay senior lives less openly in care facility
via Chicago Tribune, by Rex W. Huppke

The love of Victor Engandela's life was a Czech immigrant, an older, square-jawed man, olive-skinned and Hollywood handsome with a shock of white hair and an unfailingly gentlemanly manner.

Joseph was his name. There are pictures of him pressed in a yellowed photo album buried on a shelf in Engandela's room at an Evanston home for seniors.

"I was with him," Engandela said, "until he took his final breath."

He shares these photos, and stories of a rich life, with no one but the occasional visitor, spending most of his days isolated from his past, surrounded by contemporaries born in an age when homosexuality was taboo.

Read the rest.

"At this point in my life, I can't believe I have to feel this way," Engandela said. "I have a lot of memories I'd like to share, a lot I'd like to talk about. But I feel like I can't, and I shudder when I think I have to spend the remaining years of my life in this place."

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