Young man, older man: why intergenerational love works

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Intergenerational relationships are often referred to as "May to December," if only because one person is in the awakening spring of life while the other is entering the dormant winter. [...] Often in the gay world, there appears to be even less acceptance and more catty criticism about such age-differing partnerships. The daddy-son complex is often mentioned. Chicken hawk, cradle robber, gold digger and grave digger are just some of the terms we use for predators young-on-old and vice-versa. [...]

Canadian writer Gerald Hannon made headlines in late 1977 when he published his now infamous article "Men Loving Boys Loving Men" for a local Toronto queer publication, "The Body Politic." He wanted to shed light on the fact that such relationships do exist in a consensual context; nor should they be categorized as pedophilia, molestation, or predatory. "I've always been attracted to younger partners, and my most recent affair was two years ago with someone 30 years my junior. It lasted six months, and it was he who sought me out", explains Hannon, now 67. That often happens, he adds, even though most of us subscribe to the stereotype of the older man preying on the younger one. [...]

David Thorstad is a former president of New York's Gay Activists Alliance, a co-founder of both New York's Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, and also one of the founders of the hyper-controversial North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Thorstad's definition of an intergenerational couple is simply one between an older and a younger person, sexual or not. He finds relationships with teenagers both challenging and rewarding at the same time. "The youngest partner I had was 14 when I met him, and we remained friends throughout his life until he died at age 33," he recollects. There were no role models to refer to when Thorstad was exploring his relationships, so it was helpful to be able to talk other men familiar in similar situations. Thus, he says, NAMBLA members were of considerable help to him. [...] The subject of how low the age of consent should be is a contentious issue. Most gay rights group consider it toxic.

source: Article 'Young Man, Older Man: Why Intergenerational Love Works' by Bryen Dunn; www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=&sc=&sc3=&id=124733&pg=1; EDGE Boston; 19 September 2011