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!