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Mike Keegan - Older Gay Men

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:05] I got married, I didn't know too much about homosexuality, I knew that I was gay. Well, I didn't know what gave and was in those days, and then the provincial city I lived in. [00:00:17] You heard people say, Oh, he's uh, he's queer or something like that. [00:00:22] And I knew I was trapped it two guys. But [00:00:28] as time went by, I became more and more strict to them until finally, my wife and myself separated and got divorced. But in the meantime, we had two children, and they were [00:00:41] growing up. And [00:00:43] so it was time to [00:00:43] move on. [00:00:44] Now many years of marriage 31 years. [00:00:48] We both say my wife, my ex wife and myself both say that for the last 15 years, we probably shouldn't have [00:00:55] been married because I don't think it was just solely me, it's I don't think my [00:01:02] ex was [00:01:04] supposed with time you fall out of love, I suppose if it's level, whatever. But [00:01:11] she also knew I was going and [00:01:14] that she was most insistent that we [00:01:19] we remain friends. Because we've had some very, very good times together. And whilst I don't think we had bad times, [00:01:31] we weren't as good friends in the last 15 years as what we were in the first 15 years. And for that reason, it was [00:01:39] it helped tremendously. [00:01:42] I lost my son four years ago, was murdered. And [00:01:47] if we hadn't been good friends, [00:01:51] that that really helped us. That on between us that, you know, we could hold each other up. And it was a very sad time for us. [00:02:02] The master in here says a wonderful thing that you were on good. And thank goodness we were [00:02:08] my daughter at the time was living in England, and she flew out. [00:02:13] We bought Trent's body, to New Zealand, and we could all support each other. And although the family will, you know, My son was done that be based in Ireland and was overseas. [00:02:29] And I don't and hadn't lived for 20 odd years with my ex we [00:02:38] we were a very family that was spread all over the world, but [00:02:44] still very close, if you know what I mean. [00:02:47] My children accepted. I was gay. It was no, not a problem. [00:02:53] initial shock, I suppose. But certainly not a problem nowadays. And infect them. [00:03:02] Well, they know a lot of my friends and socialize with them, they put them up in their house and that so being gay is not a not a problem. And that that's a wonderful thing. [00:03:15] Yeah, I don't know what else to say in that respect. [00:03:19] So you wouldn't have had any discrimination about being gay before things became legal because you're still married then? [00:03:27] Yes, I can remember that. [00:03:31] A secret drink with a lot of guys after after playing squash, golf and they used to say all they were really anti this guy. I'm a sexual law reforms, etc. [00:03:47] And I couldn't save the lover me. And at that stage, I probably knew that I was gay. But I couldn't see whose business was except the people involved. If someone wants to live with someone, or or be whatever with someone who's who else. And I think that's the attitude have always taken who else's [00:04:10] who, who else is? [00:04:13] What does it matter? [00:04:14] Because no one else is going to be affected by [00:04:16] that. It's no one else's business. Really. I mean, this very mean identikit ever has. [00:04:21] So you'd be all for this gay marriage bill. It's been good. [00:04:26] I'd really don't think about it much. I, I wonder what all the fuss is about it. And I we've got the civil union now. And I haven't studied too much. And [00:04:42] I don't know what they're going to gain by gay marriage. I understand that there's some technicalities that gay couples can't get buried together or something like that, unless they're married or something. I'm not sure about all those technicalities. But those technicalities needed to be addressed properly. And I think that's probably what it's but I hadn't studied too much to make too much comment on it. [00:05:09] How's the proposal for retirement village going? [00:05:13] Well, I'm a bit involved because I went to meeting a new group called over the rainbow for people over 55. [00:05:24] Organized by outline of some members of outline and I sitting there one night, and one day and they said all the lesbians were having the gay ladies were organizing the village and I said with the gay ladies can organize a village, why can't the gay guys and then well, a lot of discussion went down the line and I said, hang on. That's what we want. That's what we want everyone sit and I said, we'll just hang on a minute hang on it. You, you don't know you should do a survey fitness. And I got involved in that survey. And so I had my mouth to mention, probably helped do the survey, whether anything becomes of it, I don't know. But I'm at the back of the ship helping to steer it not at the front. [00:06:13] So we're a lot of people interested as [00:06:15] well on the content, they got about 60 replies about 40 or suppose or 45, or something like that, from an online survey and the validity of that, I don't know because it was done through a survey company. And I passed out about or 15 or 20, physical paper ones that people had the tick boxes and very similar to what the online [00:06:42] the online survey was. And [00:06:46] whilst a lot of people feel the map, whether they want to become involved in a village or not, I don't know, time will tell them it. But the overwhelming response to that was amazing. In a that hundred percent, [00:07:02] I think on online minutes, and 98% [00:07:05] of something said that, yes, they they would probably go into a gay retirement village if they were going into a retirement village of such and that they would prefer that under percent prefer that to the current options. And that was an amazing thing. And I think that that is the amazing thing that so having gone down that line where we're we're going to have a public meeting on the 12th of November, I think, yes. [00:07:38] So where do you live? live in one of us? Currently, [00:07:43] I've got health problems. But we're working. Hopefully we'll get over that. [00:07:50] It [00:07:52] can be very just [00:07:55] the ability debilitating at times. But I'm managing quite well I keep my own house. I've got my own gardens here. And I can still drive. Although a couple of days. I'm so bad that I wouldn't drive. But I can still turn my little caravan round and things like that. So right at the present moment now, I wouldn't bet the day might come when I might have to move. And so I certainly would [00:08:25] entertain it I looked at when the last six or 12 months I've looked at at retirement, but it just for the pure and simple reasons. The day cam, I want to know where I was going, rather than just saying, well, you're going into that risk time near that risk time the you know, what I'm saying? Indeed is [00:08:46] what guy organizations you're involved in now. [00:08:49] Well, at present moment on I I'm any loosely involved, and I probably would say that I I'm involved in friends of friends, that would be the main one, friends or friends is pro [00:09:05] gaming. [00:09:07] When I first come to Austin, I had just come out. [00:09:12] And I I didn't know. [00:09:16] I didn't know anyone. [00:09:20] I was very cagey about being gay. And I went along to friends of friends. And now those days is about 35 or 40. [00:09:32] men could go there. And [00:09:36] it's been going for about 20 odd years, and I've been going I met all all, most of my friends that I know today, at friends of friends, and [00:09:49] I've seen many a guy come along that's totally lost doesn't know you might be interested in swimming, or you might be interested in something else. He doesn't want to go to the bars or the nightclubs to meet up with people, and just wants to sit down and have a talk and a cup of tea or coffee and things. And for that reason. And the last few years I've been mainly instrumental in myself and keeping it going. [00:10:14] It's it's dropped off at the is the number attending and we're trying to get it rejuvenated into a younger group as well as an older group. Currently, we're [00:10:26] getting on a bit [00:10:28] 60s and 70s. [00:10:30] As in Miami older, those original people who are still in the group where they get lots of new people these days, [00:10:37] we don't get a lot of new people. And when we get a younger person to come along, when I say younger anyway, and from in their 20s and 30s and 40s, they take or 30s they take one look at us and scamper off again, [00:10:52] in being an older person, I think interested different to a younger person. And that's the reason just recently shifted from rainbow youth. We was originally held in the pride center down at where the people seem to down and when you'd Street and then it went to the pride center in [00:11:12] K road. And then when the pride center collects, Rainbow youth took it over. And we stayed on the same rooms until the last couple of years. And we've gone down to outline and constantly. [00:11:24] And that's been a good shift, because [00:11:27] outline can see the need. They think there is a need for a group such as that people can come along and talk about whatever they want to talk about. It's not political, it's not affiliated to anything, any particular. [00:11:44] And it's it's a very loose knit group, you just roll along and have a cup of tea, or coffee or whatever. And you can talk about anything you like, but insane that you usually find an ear that you can talk to and say look, I can remember a Russian [00:12:03] guy come along years ago, and he wanted to raise his own children. And having been a married man with children, they he wanted to know about bringing up children and what it was like. And, and I think I was helpful to him. And it will I didn't say he went to Sydney and found a surrogate mother or something, I'm not sure, but I believe that he has kept the children of his own. And that's what he wanted. And you know, there's some people out there that are not in favor of gay people bringing up children, but I was a gay person and my children were very well balanced and [00:12:45] the love of me, I can't see anything wrong with it so. [00:12:48] So you're able to help people like that you are able to help the odd person that comes along on his last [00:12:55] doesn't know where to go and meet people here. So and in a very informal way, you can just whisper or talk to someone on the side that you sort of get to know and [00:13:08] how do you get people long to do do any advertising? [00:13:11] And its advertising Express meeting place every Thursday night? And I think you'll see the Express [00:13:21] ever met? No, we don't we don't charge there's no fees. There's no there's no nothing. [00:13:28] Some mistakes along the biscuit or tonight and and [00:13:32] that's about it. [00:13:34] I've also been involved in [00:13:38] the walking group, the trumping group. I can't walk with my problems at the present moment health problems, but I would very much like to get back into that. I don't know about the tramping. [00:13:51] I used to belong to the long game club until it its collapse two or three years ago. I used to like the potluck dinners, social functions there. And they gave you the Irish club on Sunday night. [00:14:09] The season the gay gardening group, I very much like that. And I've never been heavily involved in them. But if they ever want a hand or anything like that, I'm always hanging around the fringes so to speak. [00:14:27] I don't know what [00:14:27] else I can really enable. [00:14:29] Yeah, yeah, I'm always prepared to give my support to something like that. [00:14:35] Can you elaborate on the Aquarius club? [00:14:37] That's on the Sunday night that's in the bands mainly called the old men's bands held down and currently down and [00:14:46] put sidebar, just go in and have a couple of beers and a bit of a talk and [00:14:53] make one or two friends and sale we're going next Friday night we might go out to dinner or something like that. Yeah, there's always somebody you know, and and it's just a pleasant night out for an hour or two. And [00:15:07] I can tell you then what [00:15:11] some of the experiences you had, [00:15:13] or the experiences you've had as a gay man in the last 20 odd years [00:15:20] Oh, my goodness, [00:15:22] video some good stories here. But I [00:15:24] don't know Well, I want to tell you this, that [00:15:28] I am. [00:15:31] I when I first came out, within a year or two I I made the main which I settle down with for a year it melts. And that was a [00:15:43] I think I rushed into it I I haven't been involved in the gay partnership has substance he caused me so much trouble on the finish. I don't know that he's even in the country today. And I've had lots of experiences with lots of guys. [00:16:03] Physical experiences, yes, all around the world. I've traveled the world. [00:16:09] extensively, particularly when I was married, I used to work very, very hard. [00:16:18] And [00:16:20] I always saw that I always considered that you've got to have time out, so to speak and have a holiday. [00:16:29] And when, when I [00:16:33] as a gay man, I I worked very hard for the first few years when I broke up and set yourself back up again. with seven days a week for about 18 months non stop the company I work for the bosses come in and said you're going to have a break. And I went away. And after that I had to break every six months or every nine months or a year when a tree breaks a year. And they're sitting right years ago, I retired. [00:17:03] That took a lot of thinking. [00:17:06] Yeah, wonder how you're going to get on it. But ever since then, I've [00:17:11] traveled extensively, [00:17:15] extensively to, mainly to the east, although I went to Europe, and England and Ireland and Scotland and Wales because my my son and daughter were there. I went over there two or three times and went through Europe. And I've done a lot of Eastern countries in the last few years. Very expensive. And it's a hell of a long way to go over to Europe. I, [00:17:41] I found the Eastern cultures in particular, Thai cultures are very. [00:17:51] They respect people, they respect each other, particularly as you're getting older, they respect the older although I don't think the younger ties show the same respect as what they did. 10 or 15 years ago, the world's getting smaller, and they're not as respectful but by and large, most Eastern cultures respect each other. I particularly noticed that [00:18:13] I've been here I've been to 40 or 42 I think countries in the world. So [00:18:19] a lot of those most not most, because I've never done hit camp, [00:18:23] which one was to enjoy most, most mostly, [00:18:26] I use Thailand because when I first went there about 15 years ago, I made a group of gay guys who were in their 40s and 30s and 40s and 50s. And [00:18:41] one particular guy that introduced me lived in New Zealand and he introduced me to these guys and they took me under their umbrella as a friend and [00:18:52] I have a tie for in here that taught me to speak very limited tie and hello how are you and etc. [00:19:02] With with them, I learned a lot more and they were they were great company and I still have a great rapport with them when I go back so if if traveling by myself as a game in traveling by myself, I could land in Thailand and had this group of guys that I knew and and that was never by myself so to speak. Very good friend of mine two weeks ago was here stating with me when shy. He's got a New Zealand partner now. And they live in town there and when I come back from they got lost a lot of things in the Christchurch earthquake and they came back and and she had my home with them. They now live in terror. So that friendship has been marvelous and still is marvelous. And so Thailand would be my base to go to Malaysia or Singapore, Indonesia [00:20:02] Laos [00:20:05] Cambodia Vietnam I've been through Vietnam three times I've been to China two or three times Hong Kong. [00:20:12] Yeah, you do a lot of sightseeing when you like yes [00:20:14] do except the last couple of years I went to Thailand I didn't go this last winter I don't like the one doesn't New Zealand so I usually get out. But the winter before I [00:20:26] I had a lovely apartment that used to hire and john Tim and my daughter come over with her daughter at the time. And my ex congee we got a studio partner for her and I shifted out of my big apartment into a studio apartment in the same building. And they were there for a month [00:20:44] and I was there for three or four months love that. I think I love the quiet you know and also Bruce and lunch I were over the time to so and that was you know I had friends there and it was it was great. Hello you're by yourself you surrounded by friends but also knew a lot of expat Kiwis [00:21:08] in and I got to know a lot of Europeans as well as the ties in that area. [00:21:16] So for that reason, I kept going back there. And I had a base I could base to go from I [00:21:25] went down when from the down the Mekong River through Lau Elias they know in New Zealand but low and on a boat. That was a new experience. So I like doing those sorts of things. [00:21:40] Being through Cambodia, it was my son was going to come through can vary with me. And [00:21:49] it was [00:21:52] I went back to Thailand that six weeks after my son after my son's funeral. I was due to go [00:22:02] the day of his funeral and New Zealand and [00:22:07] I talked to him and South Africa before he died the week before he died. And he said to me, [00:22:15] I said to him, how about coming to Cambodia with me because he was a photo journalist. He did love that. He says, I said well, I can wait for you in Thailand and you can join me. Well, of course, the day his funeral I was due to fly out and the travel agent I booked through rang me up a book through extensively gay guy rang me up and said Mike, I won't give you my condolences now but he says Don't worry about your trip, have spoken to the airline. [00:22:44] They you can take it anytime you like your booking the safe. [00:22:50] And bet six weeks later, I was sitting here with the beach over there, tears running down my face and I thought I've got to shake myself out of this depression. So I picked up the phone and said to Steve Get me out of here. [00:23:07] And my doctor sensitive was the best thing I ever did. And [00:23:11] I went back to john Tim and I met a gay guy there who had come back from England and he was all upset about the fact that I was part and been playing away ran while he was away and he was breaking into tears and I thought I don't need this [00:23:30] so I up and left for Cambodia, just on the spur of the moment went down and mixed house gone. And that was the best thing I did and funnily enough I'm you meet people on the trips. And I met up with a Swedish lady [00:23:45] and her and we hit it off together we were great friends she was gay and she had broken up with her husband and we kept meeting up meeting up on the way through Cambodia and we had a great time together right fan and [00:24:02] that's how it can be good to go through Cambodia Angkor Wat yeah you know walk the Great Wall have been in China or have [00:24:13] been in the Macomb have been through Viet Nam along by ballooning with another friend over the mountains. ballooning the hot air ballooning that's about five years ago [00:24:30] a good friend Alvin he's he's been we've been away three or four times together. We were going to go to [00:24:40] Machu Picchu and Peru and across to Rio de Janeiro and do South America [00:24:48] Venus Aries and but unfortunately I've been stuck with this affliction of God and I can't fly but hopefully it'll get better I can't get one that said hey, I made hay while the sun shines and of course in all these places you go to you meet up with the [00:25:09] guy and he made some good friends Chinese and otherwise [00:25:16] we just had a good life [00:25:20] apart from the obvious tragedies [00:25:23] I think everyone has a tragedy or two in their life [00:25:28] yes i have i worked very very hard [00:25:32] I I've enjoyed myself played had not played there but I've made sure that I hit the holidays and and and haven't [00:25:44] I think hard work pays off and you can see [00:25:48] I've got a regional [00:25:49] so massive of the houses [00:25:53] and I worked hard to get that [00:25:55] the that have always ensured that I've taken my breaks and [00:26:00] and i think that [00:26:03] that rubbed off on the children too I think because they traveled extensively and they would come back and tell me about the trips and travels and I think probably from their mother and father going overseas [00:26:21] I can remember [00:26:23] the kids were pretty small we went to a conference in [00:26:29] Singapore and then from there we went through Malaysia and the Philippines and back to New Zealand and most days 30 years ago was over 30 years ago it was [00:26:43] was quite a trip you know so lots of experiences as a matter of fact that painting on the wall is the floating market in and that's paid by my good friend one shy Yeah. And when you went to in the 1970s to Bangkok fighting Mac it was just like that. And funnily enough when I got it I was going through a whole lot of old cards and I found a postcard sent my daughter and it was at the flooding market and it's very very similar that [00:27:15] if you think you see ram in this room is from somebody that's new [00:27:21] there's there's light light standards are made from kjellson the Vietnam War is bridging over there in Prague and it's from the inner [00:27:38] rhymes either they are [00:27:40] you can just I can just pick up any this some of the soldiers from the imitation soldiers from CNN so that that imitation cut over there was Warden [00:27:54] in Limerick I named them to my you European friends, his name is Rick and to my agent transitional [00:28:06] will will will wrap this up Mike, if any advice I usually say to people who need advice for younger people these days younger gay people. [00:28:16] It's a different world what we used to be [00:28:20] I don't think that I would get married today because I'd be more educated. And you know about these things I didn't know about this then being gay and cetera. So I mean, I don't know that I can give a lot of advice but to admit a few younger people that are [00:28:41] the the did skate of coming out. [00:28:45] And you don't have to go around waving a banner and saying, Hey, I'm gay. I mean, no one in Oakland who I worked with knew I was guy. Why did they they didn't need to know that I was perhaps Roman Catholic or Presbyterians or, or whatever. You don't go around waving a banner on Buddhist or something you you can live a natural life. I think I lived them. [00:29:12] No one would have known and I still don't think no one would know me as a gay person. [00:29:18] And there's no reason. [00:29:21] Okay, if you're that way inclined, and you want to get dressed up and add transvestites, and those sort of things, I can understand that. But that's, that's another world that [00:29:30] we just use. So do you wouldn't get married again. But you don't think the bullets balanced by the fact of having children? [00:29:38] I don't regret ever getting married? Certainly not. Certainly not. And, and I think [00:29:47] I think it's sad to turn back knowing what you know now and related to those times years ago. And [00:29:57] I didn't know what else I can say. But if a lot of people there's a lot of help out if for those that are worried about being gay, the younger people [00:30:09] they, they can live. [00:30:12] There's a whole life out there and a whole society, particularly here in Oakland, but not many that anywhere. And they can integrate into society so easily. [00:30:23] These days and still be gay and my friends have gone to town where they were openly said, well, we're gay and now and now in pre judges as much as what they used to this day and age. If they if they if someone has a problem with it. That's their problem. It's not your problem. You don't have to take it on board.

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