Donald Stenhouse - Older Gay Men

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. [00:00:04] My childhood from the age of one onwards was in Tanzania. It's now called, but it was in those days tank, Annika. And then from my teenage years were in in Scotland. [00:00:20] So what so what school of schooling? Did you have? [00:00:26] Good question. Yes, yeah, [00:00:28] well, it's schooling and technique, it was [00:00:31] pretty extraordinary. As you can imagine this, this was during World War Two. And, I mean, remote outpost of the Empire, that wasn't really able to come on. [00:00:45] Set of very good teachers, however, they did their best. And it was quite chaotic. But I did learn something. [00:00:55] So what point in your life? Did you realize you were guy? [00:01:00] I think at the onset of puberty. [00:01:04] It's I mean, it only dawned on me slowly. And I can't say that there were would have been any particular point when I there was a sort of, [00:01:18] you [00:01:18] know, a bright light suddenly switched on. Oh, [00:01:21] that's what I am. [00:01:25] Ready, go your shoes arising from your the jobs you have? [00:01:31] Not, not that I were aware of, [00:01:37] in the sense that I was just accepted for who I was. [00:01:43] And people could make what they like to that they didn't. I didn't let everybody know, I was gay, but quite a few people either guessed or ended up knowing. And that didn't cause any trouble. [00:01:56] You had you had interviews with a psychiatrist at Yes, to rebuild it. [00:02:04] Well, this was by the time I was getting really quite troubled by being gay. And I had sort of moved away quite quickly from the kind of religious attitude to being gay, they sort of punitive, it's forbidden. And was interested in and a little inclined to accept the medical model that it was some sort of psychiatric illness. So I thought, right, well, I go and see a psychiatrist. [00:02:41] And he was a very kind man, who agreed to see me and the, but was sort of Friday. And so there were long sessions of free association. [00:02:57] And I was not very good at that. I don't know how you want being good at it means but but [00:03:04] I was pretty sure I wasn't I think I was a very uptight and inhibited young fella and not really able to free associate easily. [00:03:15] And I think my interpretation of this may be wrong, but I think it towards the, in the end, he got fed up with me. So what I'm never going to get anywhere with this fella. He was of course trying to cure me, which was a mistake on his part. [00:03:30] And [00:03:32] so as he was concerned, you know, it was going nowhere. So he thought, why don't I offer him LSD [00:03:42] that might disinhibited my bit. And I had for LSD trip, which you haven't forgotten [00:03:49] about? [00:03:50] No, they were wonderful. [00:03:55] Did it teach him and he did he learn anything about [00:03:59] after the that I left his care. So I was grateful to him. I mean, he had, he tried to care for me, and he had done his best. But I think the only benefit I obtained from it all was apart from knowing what an LSD trip was like, [00:04:18] was that I'd had to get up and go to do something. Rather than just wallowing around and increasing levels of self pity or [00:04:29] so you must you must have consumed in your own mind then that gayness was all right. At that time, [00:04:35] yes, I stopped worrying. And in particular, I stopped worrying partly because I happened to be reading some Freud. And I read a letter Freud written to, obviously a gay man's mother, and his mother had written to Freud. And Freud said, Stop worrying about Did you know [00:05:02] that the lots of gay people in history, there's nothing wrong with them, and just let them get on with life? [00:05:11] And your Freudian mantra do? You did? Yes. [00:05:14] So there's a paradox there. He maybe hadn't read that letter? [00:05:18] Maybe not there. So are you are you currently in a stable relationship? [00:05:24] Yes. How long have you been in it? [00:05:29] Think about eight years. Right. [00:05:32] And as as you're getting older, as your, [00:05:37] without a so called nuclear family, a prison just present any problems? [00:05:43] I think it does, yes. [00:05:47] You see, my family are all in Scotland. And I would be very happy if in fact, they were here. But I'm not aware of any problems that I can deal with, at least at the moment. [00:06:02] So what support you're going to need as you get older? [00:06:08] Okay, well, well, actually. Can you tell us something about your health? [00:06:13] Right? Well, my health [00:06:16] has been in recent years, the only word I can say is chaotic. [00:06:23] I've got what is called temporal lobe epilepsy. [00:06:30] And in addition to that, I'm developing Parkinson's disease. On top of which I have what is laughably called benign essential tremor. [00:06:43] And there's something else I can't remember even what it is now. But that's enough to be going on with? [00:06:50] Well, that's it's going to create a few problems as I [00:06:52] think it will. So how are you going to deal with it? [00:06:55] I don't know. I haven't thought I do think about it. But then I think, Well, [00:07:04] whatever happens in the future is so unpredictable. And the rate at which it happens is too unpredictable for me to to [00:07:14] think give it any sensible thought. So [00:07:18] like a lot of people sometimes if the problems too hard, you just don't try and solve it. [00:07:25] Have you thought of where you're going to live when you can't live in your present house? [00:07:31] Yes. Given that some thought with my partner and I have been looking at retirement village. Right. And I think it will have to be something along those lines. I can't imagine anything other than that decent being available in contemporary New Zealand. [00:07:55] Whatsoever place you're looking for and or abroad and a little bit too, would you would you look for a gay friendly one. Would you look for a gay run one? If there was a [00:08:06] gay run one? [00:08:09] Yes, I will. I will. I'd be interested to have a look at it. I I'm quite interested in an initiative that seems to be developing for [00:08:21] a gay retirement environment. [00:08:28] I can't help feeling that will be a very difficult thing to unscramble. Because the [00:08:36] other guy problems. [00:08:38] Yeah. [00:08:40] And maybe a gay friendly one would be more significant. And I think, from my observations anyway, that they only people who have shown us [00:08:52] villas or flat or apartments or whatever, have not batted an eyelid that we're obviously a gay couple that hasn't concerned them at all. I think what would probably be more likely to happen is that some of the other elder elderly people would be living in the past. And might might be a bit hard to handle. [00:09:17] Yes, it could be interesting sitting. [00:09:20] There is apparently a gay [00:09:24] and lesbian retirement village either being built or [00:09:29] already built in, in Victoria and Australia [00:09:33] already. So [00:09:35] but I don't know what the status of that. But I think if and if people are going to start looking for some sort of arrangement here, they'd be very wise to go in there and have a look. [00:09:46] Yes, reaching miles and guide ladies living together to because normally there's not a lot of mixing, you [00:09:55] know, I can see why to [00:09:58] the, I would foresee two problems. One is that women live much longer than men. [00:10:05] And so they would almost certainly develop. If it didn't start that way, they would almost certainly develop a [00:10:13] majority of lesbian rights. And now, I think my present trouble. [00:10:22] Actually, there's a lot of times I think that the problem is just already there's more and more women and yes. [00:10:31] You might have more to type will, in other words that your your family is, couldn't ever turn that they wanted to because you're gay. [00:10:42] I hope so. I've tried to [00:10:44] you you had that in mind. [00:10:45] Yes, yes. But I, it's my belief that neither my brother nor his offspring would even dream of trying to overturn it. But people do behave very stringent. And unfortunately, it does happen. [00:11:04] So you've, you're doing the best to provide for your future, you've probably done that already working by fix me. Yes. [00:11:09] Yes. I'm quite comfortable. [00:11:12] Okay. If you're suddenly single What to do? Oh, [00:11:19] I can't answer that. I think I would. [00:11:24] I've always felt this was something my sister taught me that's the right word, that the best compliment you can be [00:11:36] dead partner is to in, in due course, form another partnership. [00:11:44] Okay. [00:11:47] You know, you do get people who sort of maybe women more prone to do this. And men? I'm not sure. But who feel that if they would be betraying the previous relationship if they formed another one. So they never do. But I don't think that's the case at all. I think it's a compliment to the previous relationship if you enter another one in due course. So I suppose I would want [00:12:13] to find somebody else. But you know, at the age of 75 [00:12:20] is your choices restricted your options? [00:12:26] Okay, what would you change in your life? If she could? [00:12:31] I think I would have [00:12:34] preferred a different career. Really? Yes. I don't mean not medicine. But [00:12:42] the specialty I would most like to have done is the one or two effects in fact would apply to me now. And that is neurology. [00:12:53] Paradoxically, but to do new, I did did look into it. And the the option I was given was to go to London, to Queen square hospital for nervous diseases. I think it used to be called and studying urology there. And I didn't really want to go back to Britain. [00:13:17] Our eyes [00:13:19] are totally about moving countries. You were you were offered a job in Melbourne on stage. Oh, yeah. [00:13:25] Yes. Yeah. [00:13:28] And your reasons for not not [00:13:29] Yes, I did part of my training as a specialist in, in the Children's Hospital in Melbourne. And I love that job, it was very good. And I think I was good at it. [00:13:42] And perhaps the confirmation of that is that there was several times offered a senior post there. [00:13:52] I thought very hard about it, and knew that I would be happy in the job. [00:14:00] I wasn't, I wasn't afraid of [00:14:03] that. But I think once some staff members at that, in that era, this was the early 70s tweet that I was gay, then a lot of these [00:14:20] very good. But very [00:14:24] ambitious hospital, I mean, hospitals filled with very ambitious people, there would be almost 70 that would be used [00:14:36] in a variety of way. I didn't know somebody there who was gay. And [00:14:42] I remember him being talked about in a very derogatory way. I thought, what I don't want that. [00:14:49] So that's why you turn those jobs, [00:14:51] essentially, because I was gay. No, no, not because I didn't want the job. [00:14:58] So was there any other words instances where you didn't accept something or didn't do something because you're [00:15:08] not that I can think of no, I didn't fit other than that. I didn't let being gay interfere with my career [00:15:19] recently in what would have different was your life before the homosexual law reform bill was passed? And All right, [00:15:26] well, [00:15:29] in fact, not different. I mean, it was a relief to have it over and done with and but [00:15:38] I [00:15:40] really, from the beginning of adulthood decided that I wasn't going to let being gay [00:15:47] harm my personal life. I'm, I'm a domesticated sort of guy, so I like long term relationship. And I didn't think that I was gonna let that [00:16:02] get in the way. [00:16:05] Whether cause any harm to me enough I've never been I wouldn't know would be to just be loving Shut up. Anyway.

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