People come out as gay or lesbian at all times of life, but I’m still excited to hear about men and women who do so at midlife. Particularly if they’ve led a heterosexual life for all the previous years. Everyone knows that Ellen DeGeneres came out publicly with the 1997 “Yep, I’m Gay” cover story in Time magazine. But she had been a lesbian before that; she was just now telling the rest of the world about it.
I am talking about folks who actually come out to themselves and the world at midlife. I just heard that actor Kelly McGillis (Witness), age 51, is out now. Here is a video of Kelly McGillis talking about being a lesbian.
It’s not easy, even in today’s supposedly more accepting and understanding culture, to come out. I think it’s even harder for some folks in later life. They may fear society’s disapproval, they may fear losing longtime friends and relationships, they may fear their children’s reactions, etc. For those coming out in midlife, there are organizations that operate locally where one can find support groups, etc. But here are just a few resources that are more broadly available (and there are many more than this!):
Prime Timers Worldwide: a group for gay or bisexual men
Lesbian Epiphanies: Women Coming Out in Later Life, a book by Karol Jensen
GayGray: a group for older gay men and their admirers
An AARP forum for gays and lesbians
Gay and Gray: The Older Homosexual Man, a book by John Dececco
Gay and Gray: How it Was Then: a blog post with videos at Time Goes By
An online photo exhibit of older gays and lesbians by Richard Renaldi
Practical info for older gays and lesbians living in the UK