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God Hates 35-Year-Olds

West Hollywood's "Age March" raises questions about similarities between Age Pride and Gay Pride.

This Saturday, the City of West Hollywood will host the second-ever "," a mile-long walk to celebrate the contributions of the seniors in the community and fight age-based discrimination.

While I strongly agree with the values of the Age March—to celebrate the contributions of seniors and fight for their rights—the tactics and message they send trouble me for some reason...and I am am not entirely comfortable with my discomfort.

Much of West Hollywood won't notice the Age March, because they'll be celebrating gay and lesbian Pride in Long Beach, while organizers of the Age March call on participants "to make an AGE PRIDE generation!"

The parallels being drawn with the fight for gay and lesbian civil rights by the gurus of gerontology are less than subtle. The first two Age Marches were scheduled for San Francisco and West Hollywood, rather than Laguna Woods or Palm Springs. The language of the age activists call for pride in one's real age and to break down stereotypes.

Age, unlike sexual orientation, is not a choice. The idea of "Age Pride" makes about as much sense to me as someone being proud of being a Pisces.  

Age, unlike sexual orientation, is not intrinsic to the individual. You cannot say you were "born this way" when referencing age.

Age, unlike sexual orientation, is not immutable. I can be proud of being 35, but come July, that will be silly and dated once I turn 36. Age is always changing, as are our perceptions of what is "old."

Maybe I'll be proven wrong this weekend, but I don't expect protesters to show up at Saturday's March waiving signs that say, "God hates 35-year-olds."

While I believe in everyone's freedom of speech, I hope West Hollywood's seniors are smart enough to see through the political pandering.

Rather than hold rallies and marches and speeches, perhaps our city leaders could, you know, actually do things for seniors, like expand the taxi voucher program or reduce the wait times for Dial-a-Ride service. Now, that would be something our city could take pride in!

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brad May 16, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Umm, sexial orientation is a "choice" then?
Scott Schmidt May 16, 2011 at 06:34 PM
I should clarify that being open about one's sexual orientation IS a choice... That's what I intended (see the "born this way" comment in the next line. Thanks for keeping me honest, Brad!
brad May 16, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Okay I misunderstood. Should have read more carefully thanks for clarifiction. Agree that more could be done for seniors. Although this city unlike many others especially of such a small size does have some pretty good services. Dial a ride could be improved, taxi vouchers cant get you very far. For more able bodied seniors the regular City line is a life saver.
Vernon Davis May 16, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Interesting commentary on the marches, Scott. I didn't even know such marches existed. I get they don't get much press. Now, as an old guy turning 55, I'm going to have to maybe choose between going to the Age March or the Pride March. Hmmmm, what to do?
larry gust May 16, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Love the idea of the March...didn't know about it. When and where??
larry gust May 16, 2011 at 10:00 PM
duh !! just saw the info on the right of the blog...........see this Seniorism is nuts!!!
joninla May 28, 2011 at 07:59 AM
I think it "FEELS LIKE" an ageism issue to those 35++ living in West Hollywood. I think the sad reality is the sense of "loss" is very, very real. We did LOSE AN ENTIRE GENERATION with the AIDS crisis. I noticed it very acutely after avoiding the local gym for years and eventually returning for the ease of the location. I was stuck dumb (dumber than I usually am) at THE MISSING GENERATION of people not at the gym. Back in the local daily world here, I no longer notice it, but I do remember the real SHOCK when I left and after some time returned. My opinion.

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