Thesis

Proud to be Old, Gay, and Singing: "My Fantasy is to Die on Stage of a Heart Attack"�

Social networks are found to decrease poor health, disability, and depression. The absence of social relationships is associated with increased risky behavior and poor physical health. Research has suggested that a social network is considered a primary component of assisting people to age independently and maintain quality of life. To date, few studies have explored the particular benefits of social groups as it relates to elderly gay men. Following in-depth interviews (N=9) with elderly gay men who participate in the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) west coast, thematic analysis was used to explore why they choose to remain constant in the group. Results revealed strong values of advocacy and giving-back to the community. Participation in GALA choruses built self-esteem, confidence, and activism. Shared history of the early days of gay liberation contributed to common bonds and strength in the community. Chorus members felt a sense of responsibility to mentor the next generation. Participation in GALA choruses created a space for these men to find a voice in the community.

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