Who's Afraid of the Mirror? A Sociological Polemic on the Gay Vision of the Gay Ageing

Ernesto Meccia


Our aim is to analyze different representational forms of gay ageing by old gays. We will draw on aspects related to various theoretical viewpoints and enhance them by presenting empirical evidence with a critical approach. Thus, we will delve into the theory of competence in crisis, some theories of adjustment and resilience, the theory of fast aging, and last, the theory of minority stress. Our reflection is focused on aging experienced by gays who have witnessed social changes as from the 70s, taking into account they represent a turning point in gay subjectivity formed by contrasting representational repertoires, some deriving from an old homosexuality pattern in which they socialized primarily and others from the gay model fostered, generically, after the Stonewall uprising. From the methodological point of view, the texts of the authors considered representative of the theories mentioned are crossed. Then, each was busy trying to point out their particular strengths and limitations providing primary data (interviews) and secondary (statistics on perceptions and interviews). In conclusion, it is noted that there have been contrasting situations in the aging process based on heterogeneous analysis variables, including: sexual identity, the scene of identity (areas of healthcare are clearly regressive to show the gay identity) and, among others, by the features that subjects allocated to institutional environments within which developed his biography.


homosexuality, ageing, perceptual models, experience frames, significant others

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/rasp.2016.1723

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RASP - Research on Ageing and Social Policy | ISSN: 2014-671X

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