Do you have or are you a gay mentor?

  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Feb 15, 2012 7:20 AM GMT
    Two Generations of Gay Men Collide in SF

    http://www.7x7.com/love-sex/two-generations-gay-men-collide-sf

    I recently came across this article (again) as I turned 40 this year. With a select group of guys (20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-somethings) at my bash, we discussed whether we had an older mentor in the gay community and whether we were a mentor to a younger gay generation.

    Half the group had some sort of connection with a generation different from there own. It was a great conversation about getting a sense of what is ahead, perspective from time gone by, and what makes us gay men.

    So, in re-reading this article, I ask this group the question

    Do you have a gay mentor or are you a gay mentor to a generation different than your own?

    - David icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 15, 2012 7:27 AM GMT
    Nope. icon_neutral.gif

  • Feb 15, 2012 12:46 PM GMT
    I have a mentor. Its a necessity, where you're about to go they've already been.
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    Feb 15, 2012 12:52 PM GMT
    No, but I would like one very much.
  • bad_wolf

    Posts: 1002

    Feb 15, 2012 12:54 PM GMT
    Could have done with one when I first came out, but if they do them in the UK I'd sign myself up as one.
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    Feb 15, 2012 1:01 PM GMT
    I am now 47 and no I am not a mentor ,,but I do know that when I was 12/13 yrs old I had a mentor,,Robbie was 24 at the time and he taught me so many things about being gay,,not all of it was sex,,some of it was about staying and being CLEAN,,yes we did have sex a lot over a 3 1/2 yr relationship and he always used a condom.. So mentors are important ....icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 15, 2012 1:38 PM GMT
    I'd love a mentor. Any takers? icon_biggrin.gif
  • jboy84

    Posts: 556

    Feb 15, 2012 1:39 PM GMT
    What's the difference between a mentor and a friend?
    If the two terms are interchangeable then yes, I have several mentors.

    If not, then no, no I don't.
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    Feb 15, 2012 1:59 PM GMT
    i like this idea
  • 24hourguy

    Posts: 364

    Feb 15, 2012 2:18 PM GMT
    Interesting article. I used to feel a responsibility to the younger (fresh out-of the closet) gays when I was in my early to mid 30's to try and give some sort of guidance and/or advise. But rather than schooling them on who Madonna is it was more of a "here's what I did, here's what I should have done" kind thing.

    I have a friend who is about 12 years older than me but to listen to him sometimes it is clear that we have distinctly different experiences. He grew up in the Boys in the Band era -where gay was something secret and something that was to be kept from public view. A sometimes mean-spirited bitchiness is something to be revered -it was a survival/coping mechanism. And a general fatalistic view of life, love and fulfillment is just part of how he thought life would be for a gay man of his generation. The possibility of settling down with someone and building a life together never even entered his mind -it just wasn't even a possibility. -He marvels at how things are for all of us now but particularly for younger gays in their 20's (and younger!).

    I grew up in the AIDS era, -the Safe Sex generation. There was never a time where condoms were not an option. There has never been a time in my experience where HIV wasn't there. Our community was under attack by a disease and political and religious institutions. We couldn't just slap on a par of high-heels and lip-sync a show-tune and everything was going to be alright. People were dying and the world was doing nothing -they weren't even talking about it. Many of them thought that we deserved it and that we had brought it on ourselves. We had to fight, -literally for our lives in some cases......and slowly things started to change.

    Today's baby gays are growing up in a world where there are gay people on TV, gay people in politics, gay people in public life. They are growing up in a world where it is mostly OK to be who they are! There are laws that protect them from discrimination and some countries and states actually recognize their relationships on equal footing with heterosexual marriages. They didn't live through the ravages of AIDS and have not lost a host of friends to an illness that at one point seemed to only target gay men. They have grown up without that fear, and rightfully, are just living their lives and celebrating who they are in a more integrated way with their heterosexual peers. It is wonderful to see! Yes, there is still a long way to go but...it has gotten so much better. It is kind of cool to see how far things have come and how much they have changed.

    -I don't know if this particular generation of baby gays wants or needs mentors.
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    Feb 15, 2012 2:25 PM GMT
    man... that's a novel idea...

    i never had one till last year, and i know a friend who's one. but i doubt i could be one. as my nephews say I'm a bit too rigid, and i tend to come off as uncaring... os it's not for me
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    Feb 15, 2012 2:33 PM GMT
    I have three mentors of sorts. One is his thirties,one is my age and other one is younger.

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    Feb 15, 2012 2:40 PM GMT
    24hourguy said
    -I don't know if this particular generation of baby gays wants or needs mentors.


    Now more than ever.

    I was just having a discussion with my very conservative parents the other day. They were admonishing me for what they perceived as going about my relationships in a way God wouldn't approve of... While they've accepted, generally, the idea that I'll eventually marry a man, they haven't thought it through really. They said "you shouldn't have been pouring yourself into that person (my ex) emotionally, sexually, financially until you were 100% committed. God wants you to have one person only..." And I responded, "I agree with one person, and yet marriage is illegal in Florida..." and they said "Don't gay guys have something though? Don't you commit yourselves to each other some way? Don't you go through those steps..."

    My answer was, "No. We don't have rituals like you do. We don't have traditions, communities, histories, and families to guide us down the path of courtship the way you do. If I were courting a woman I'd know exactly what to do, exactly the right steps to take, and exactly where I stood. I want a husband, I want to be married, but straight people have a path between meeting and marriage: we don't. I'm among the first generation of gay men to even have the option of going from meeting to marriage and so I'm stumbling between those two things on my own."

    My generation needs mentors. Some of us may not see that, but when I find older gay men, men of worth and integrity who lead a good life that I admire, I treasure them. They are desperately needed.
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    Feb 15, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    When I first decided, ok, I'm just gonna do this, I met and had a gay mentor of sorts. He was my age, much more experienced, knew a lot of people, etc. He turned out to be a guy with a habit of attempting to sleep with newly out or new to town guys. (We didn't sleep together btw.) But I learned a lot of...gay navigation skills from him, some of which have proved valuable, others of which I've had to unlearn.

    That said, I cannot overstate the value of having someone I knew I could call when I was unsure, frustrated, stressed, or just wanted to kvetch.

    As far as being a mentor...I've made light attempts at it, mostly due to the fact that I benefited from having a mentor of my own. However I've found that the younger guys I've attempted to guide or advise were either not serious about it or just waiting for a chance to sleep with me. So I stopped. Advice is only useful when one wants to actually listen to it, and many people will ask for advice only seeking to have what they already believe reinforced.

    One thing I noticed though: a big concept I like to suggest is that you should develop genuine friendships. That a circle of friends can last you lifetime if they are real, genuine, and built on commonalities. And genuine friendships are generally not of a sexual nature. I found that a lot of guys don't want to hear this. It's frustrating when people, esp young gay men, don't understand that in the long run it's detrimental to fuck your friends.
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    Feb 15, 2012 3:01 PM GMT
    I loved this line “I had to tell this boy that Liza Minnelli is Judy Garland’s daughter" because I had the exact experience in a college class I took last year. The kids didn't even connect that it's Judy Garland who is in the Wizard of Oz. Somebody should tweet that.

    24hourguy, you've some good observations but also some over-generalizations which could have been corrected had you qualified some of your statements so that you could catagorize individual decades without pigeonholing them.

    For instance, it is neither true nor fair to characterize that your older friend's generation did not fight the good fight but hid in the shadows of the bitterness of a single life because many of us did protest, did speak out to our family and friends, were involved in change and also formed immensely satisfying relationships. In fact, Stonewall (and the events and feelings and expressions that lead up to it) took place in the decade before even us.

    So it is a little presumptuous to take the credit that it was just your decade which "had to fight, -literally for our lives in some cases (so that) slowly things started to change."

    Similarly, just count how many threads we read and respond to from kids today facing the exact same problems we've been facing for at least all of my 50 years and longer: coming out issues, comfort in own skin issues, relationship issues, attraction to str8 men issues, et al.

    Mentoring is not about what we teach each other. It is about what we learn from each other.

    "There is nothing new under the sun"~~Ecclesiastes
  • laxdude25

    Posts: 604

    Feb 15, 2012 3:06 PM GMT
    I am absolutely open to being a mentor, and at any one time am typically acting as a mentor to 3-4 younger guys. I define "mentor" as being available for career and life advice, and for hanging out, with zero expectations on the sexual side. I have been relatively successful in my business career, and have a somewhat unusual life path (openly bi but happily married with kids) and try to be available especially to guys who are looking for some non-judgmental friendship and sometimes guidance. My own father died when I was 12, and I really missed having him around as I was hitting some of life's challenges. So I like being able to fill a mentor role to a guy. And as meninlove point out, I can always learn a lot from my "menthe" so it can be a great, mutually rewarding relationship.
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    Feb 15, 2012 3:12 PM GMT


    "Do you have a gay mentor or are you a gay mentor to a generation different than your own?"

    icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif


    Yes, younger people sometimes come to us to talk over things they struggle with. Conversely, there are things we learn from them when that happens; there are a lot of pretty amazing younger people out there! It's a pretty warm arrangement, I think.


    -Doug

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    Feb 15, 2012 3:16 PM GMT
    I had a friend at college who had a gay mentor. My friend lives in long island and his mentor in the city so he would go and stay with him and his mentor would show him around the gay scene in manhattan. I always envied him so much it burned....
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    Feb 15, 2012 3:17 PM GMT
    I don't know if I have any gay mentors but I hope that I've been able to be a mentor to some guys from on here, especially some who have/are struggling to come out.

    I think it's important to be able to find those that you can hold up as examples for what and where you wish to go in life.
  • LaxJock16

    Posts: 784

    Feb 15, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    I have had a few guys who were psuedo mentors but many of them stopped talking to me when they got in relationships... so yes and no... I would love to have a mentor to springboard ideas off on or ask for advice on career, sexuality, relationships and etc...

    I have tended to have no lifeguard on duty in life and have tended to make mistakes due to it... sure I learn from them but would be nice to have a guy to talk to about life for sure.
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    Feb 15, 2012 3:44 PM GMT
    My parents, family and close friends are my mentors whether they know it not. They raised me right and I have done right by them. I've taken the values and principles I grew up with and have applied them accordingly to my life. I've created a few myself and I am constantly using them to better myself and hopefully those around me.

    I myself am a mentor and do my best to help those around me. Mostly kids but the door is open to anyone. I show them that they have options and that not every problem can solved by themselves. There's nothing wrong with asking for help when it's needed. There's nothing wrong with giving help even when it's not asked for. Teaching and learning are joined at the hip and I am constantly doing both. I'm better for it.

    This generation of gays do have mentors. The problem is people don't wanna listen to them and don't use the brains they are born with. Another problem is that people are selfish and don't wanna help others. Those that are fully capable of being mentors (to 1 or to 100 people) stay only committed to themselves, their goals, success and happiness. I daresay they lack compassion.

    Never forget where you came from or who you are.
    Never forget those before you and what they've done for you.
    Never forget to give back and make a difference no matter how small or large.
  • tautomer

    Posts: 1010

    Feb 15, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    No, but if I wanted I am friends with 2 guys twice removed from my generation or so, that if I wanted, could become mentors in effect.
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    Feb 15, 2012 3:53 PM GMT
    LaxJock16 saidI have tended to have no lifeguard on duty in life and have tended to make mistakes due to it... sure I learn from them but would be nice to have a guy to talk to about life for sure.
    Yep, you do learn from them but you're right, having someone to confide in and chat with can also act as a 'curb' to keep you on the path and to avoid the extremes that you'll learn from but might also have more severe consequences.
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    Feb 15, 2012 4:00 PM GMT
    no. i've never had any mentor of any kind other than those that were assigned to me at work.
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    Feb 15, 2012 4:10 PM GMT
    No I wish I did. icon_sad.gif

    The mentors I "collect" are all women over the age of 50... I can think of five of them lol.