I’m From Fort Lauderdale, FL.

by martin d. goodkin

I came out in 1948 when I was 12 years old. I was going to the bars and baths in New York City while in my teens. Now at the age of 74, still active, and alone, by choice after 4 exes, I have sort of stepped back to look where I (we) have been, how far I (we) have come and how far I (we) have to go.

Being an old, gay, poor man has given me a different (another) outlook on how we treat each other as a community and how different we are from the non-gay community.

As much as we like to think we are different from other gay men, we all basically go through the same passages and experience many of the same things. I know as a young man I was mentored by older men and always preferred their company but now as an old man I’m running out of older men for company so I am turning to younger men. Don’t panic–when I say younger men I am talking about guys from 40 to 70, who don’t have to take my advice but at least will listen to it.

I have had an exciting, adventurous, multifaceted life and wish you all experience one as fulfilling.

I’m From South Bend, IN. “It was the fifties, I was in my 20’s and gay bars were scary. You always had to worry that the guy you were trying to pick up might be a cop. But there were other places to pick up men. Downtown at one such place I was sitting in my parked car watching and waiting. My patience paid off. The car that was stopped at the intersection had already circled twice. I started up my car and when the other car passed I followed. The other driver drove out of the city and into the country finally pulling off to the side of the road. I drove past him and pulled up a little further ahead.”

I’m From Stoneham, MA. “Even at the ripe age of 65, my coming out saga continues. I only came out 10 years ago but I nevertheless felt this deep urge to attend my high school reunion so that I could do what I failed to do 47 years ago: announce to my former classmates that I was gay. I debated at length whether to attend: the expense of the trip from Vancouver to Boston; why would it matter for someone my age; would the people who matter be there (or were they even alive)? I also wanted to see my best friend, Owen, and tell him that I was gay. I had successfully hidden my attraction for him lest he shun me like anyone else would in the late 50s and early 60s.”


  1. I really wanted to hear more about what it was like to come out in the 40s, but the email Martin provided didn’t work. So, Martin, if you read this, contact me through the contact form. I wanna know more!

  2. wow. yeah, it be nice to know more.

  3. Martin,
    The younger guys do want to hear from you and your peers. They need to know and see that your efforts have made a difference for them – AND – be inspired that their, sometimes scary, efforts will make a difference for the gay sons and grandsons yet to come.

    My hope is that the reaching out will help your elder gay years be more pleasurable with the cross generational respect.

    Thank you for your story,

  4. i wish i can have a fufilling life like yours.

  5. I’m not going to lie, I’ve always been afraid of older gay men. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just ignorance. But now, I want to give one a chance. I want to talk to one and see what he has to say. Thank you for enlightening me.

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