Style » Home

The 'Old Gays' Blaze a Trail for LGBTQ+ Senior Living

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday June 5, 2022
Originally published on May 26, 2022

The 'Old Gays' Blaze a Trail for LGBTQ+ Senior Living
  (Source:Screencap/The Old Gays/Instagram)

The group of social media influencers who call themselves the "Old Gays" are among the American elders re-writing the script for life's later stages.

Prominently profiled in a New York Times article on older Americans facing their sunset years with verve and companionship, the Old Gays are part of a social media phenomenon called "grandfluencers." Like their younger counterparts, the Old Gays mine comedy and connection from their housing situation. Three of the four members of the group — Robert Reeves and Bill Lyons, both 78, and Mick Peterson, 66 — share a home (complete with pool and, the Times detailed, a "well endowed sculpture of the male form") while the fourth, 68-year-old Jessay Martin, lives across the street.

Taking note that many "TikTok influencers living in so-called collab houses — mansions where they film content together — are barely old enough to legally sign a lease," the Times observed that "the Old Gays and their fellow 'grandfluencers' are proof that recording viral videos under one roof isn't reserved for the young."

@oldgays

LET'S HAVE A KIKI ???? ? Let's Have A Kiki - Scissor Sisters

How viral are their videos? The Times provided the stats: "Today, they have 7.1 million followers on TikTok and a few hundred thousand on Instagram." And forget shallow standards of youthful beauty: These mature men aren't afraid to show the world what they've got, as illustrated in the Times article's photo spread of the quartet in confident, swimwear-clad poses.

The quartet began their career as viral sensations making short, comic videos for Grindr before branching out with drag videos, music, and other entertaining clips. They're bringing representation to a whole new generation and connecting with the younger crowd.

"The Old Gays said they are often stopped by young gay fans who thank them for showing what their own golden years could look like," the Times article noted.

@oldgays Wait wait wait... who's Tom Selleck? ???? @Nicky Champa @itspierreboo #photo #transition ? original sound - The Old Gays

Within the next eight years, "the country will have more seniors than children," according to the Times. But don't expect our LGBTQ+ elders to settle into the same sorts of later-life destinations that generations before them did.

"As you get into old age, moving into a nursing home is what's expected, and many older people buy into that plan," Reeves told the Times, adding: "What we're doing, through the strength of our friendships and our mutual support, is changing the course of the way one lives their life."

That means that away from the camera, their camaraderie persists in quiet, reliable ways. These venerable gents have each other's backs.

@oldgays

Life In Your 70s ????????? ? original sound - Luke Galganski

"Though the internet does reward the risqué, the appeal of the Old Gays goes beyond shock value to something much sweeter," the Times said. "When Mr. Reeves has a doctor's appointment, Mr. Lyons drives him; Mr. Martin covers his eyes at raunchy comments from Mr. Peterson; Mr. Yezak [the group's younger colleague and video editor] and Mr. Lyons get in tiffs about how clean the pool is."

"Yes, we have our family moments," Martin told the newspaper. "But I genuinely care for this little unit."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.