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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Young at Heart in Key West


Fairy tales, can come true,
it can happen to you,
if you're young at heart.

If you are gay and gray...
And if you,
should survive,
to one hundred and five,
look at all, you'll derive,
out of being alive!

And here is the best part,
You can live the rest of your life,
in comfort not strife,
in a place in Key West,
where you can build your last nest.

CLICK HERE to watch a quick news video about where old gay men and women are moving. Well, maybe not "old" because nobody is old anymore. They are just seasoned with salt and pepper hair (if they are lucky enough to have hair). The point of the video is that aging gay people need to think and plan where they will spend the rest of their lives.

A while back a gay Realtor friend and I were talking about all the cute gay boys in Key West. (A gay boy can be a guy in his 30s, dear reader.) He said all boys are cute when they are young. And for the most part they are. Age, life, strife, bad boy friends, bad girlfriends, bosses, too much food, too many drugs, too much booze, too many cigarettes, etc. can wreak havoc on what was once a cute boy. But just living life changes the way we all look and over time makes us less attractive than we once were, whether we are straight or gay. The point being: what sustains you after your youthful appeal is gone? Who will you turn to when your sixty four? Maybe the answer is not who you turn to but rather where do you live? Where will you feel comfortable in your declining years?


In the last twenty years it became almost okay to be gay in many cosmopolitan areas of America. That is not necessarily true for what I'll call the 'red states'. In those areas gay people need the approval of the rest of society to even be tolerated. There are still those who think gays are sinners that need salvation.

Every year across America (and now the world) when we have gay pride parades where the drag queens, muscle boys, leather men, and Polo boys come out to march in unison as family. God made florists, interior designers, hair stylists, and boys that march in parades and ride on floats so the rest of us can appreciate the finer things in life.

The thing is that for many gay people it is the gay community that is the closest thing many of these single, older people have to family. In Key West we call it One Human Family.

Gays that are approaching, are at, or are past retirement age need to consider where they are going to spend their final years. Think about it. Where do old drag queens end up. Or old leather muscle gods that are no longer gods and certainly look foolish in leather. What nursing home or assisted living facility welcomes queenie old men? Who will these people dine with on a daily basis? Will they be welcomed, tolerated, or scorned?

Key West does not have any gay retirement housing that I am aware of. But the community of Key West does not have anti-gay bias. This is a place where it really is okay to be gay. If you are a straight reader I question whether you can appreciate how wonderful it is not to have to conceal who you really are when you are at work or at a function. When I was in business up north in America I did not lie about my life. I just did not share it with others. That is not right. But so many gay people have to do that-even now, in the enlightened years. The military may be ending the don't ask, don't tell policy, but it still exists in much of American life. Keep your personal life a secret to get by. Don't wear costumes and march in parades to let your co-workers or neighbors know that you prefer the company of men (or women if you are a lesbian). Is that any way to live? Is that they way you want to spend the rest of your life?

I learned so much about acceptance after I moved here. I saw a town and people that really did not care about the fact that I was gay. The cashier at Faustos on White does not care. The cook behind the deli case at Dion's (where you can get the best friend chicken in Key West) doesn't care. Wes at Truman and White Chevron doesn't care. He wants to fix your car. The guys at Strunk Ace Hardware do not care. The contractors and landscapers that want your business do not care. They want your money! All of these people live their own lives and mind their own business. There are a few exceptions like the guy with the guy with the FAGS DOOM NATIONS sign below. But I have not experienced any negativity in the years I have been here.


CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you are gay and should survive to one hundred and five (or even seventy five), consider Key West as the place to spend the rest of your life in comfort and not stress, where you can build that final nest. My name is Gary Thomas and I am a Gay Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida, where it is okay to be gay. Please consider contacting me to help you make your fairy tale dream of living the rest of your life in Key West come true. And here is the best part, it can happen to you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great column, Gary. But it makes me think somebody should start up a gay assisted living in KW. Black Box on the speakers all night long ...

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anon, It is kinda scary. You get old and have no family. Your friends from your earlier life are gone and you are alone-and gay. Who will take care of you? Where will you be welcomed?

I read that Palm Springs has gay assisted living places. Maybe I will give up the threat of oil spills and hurricanes for the threat of earthquakes and heat strokes when I get to that point, that is, unless, as you suggest that we get something goin on in Key West.

Gary

Anonymous said...

As all baby boomers age, gay or straight, black or white or whatever, we will have problems with dealing with longer living members of society in both good and bad health. I dare say that the new health care plan will not address these issues, whether you are in a red or blue state. Unless you have the means to support yourself with long term care or can live off the state I do not see this as a promising future for any. And if you think the Gen X or Gen Y or new generations would care, think again.

Anonymous said...

As all baby boomers age, gay or straight, black or white or whatever, we will have problems with dealing with longer living members of society in both good and bad health. I dare say that the new health care plan will not address these issues, whether you are in a red or blue state. Unless you have the means to support yourself with long term care or can live off the state I do not see this as a promising future for any. And if you think the Gen X or Gen Y or new generations would care, think again.

Gary Thomas said...

Agreed!

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.