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Sam Pancake to younger gays: “A legion of men and women died to give you the world you have now”

The gifted actor Sam Pancake has caused a stir on social media this week for a wonderful rant he went on the Lovett or Leave It podcast. A partial clip of it was posted on Twitter and it’s now taken on a life of its own. Sam reminds the LGBTQI folks under 40ish who it was that made their world possible for them.

Here’s what he said:

“In the ’80s when I was in my teens and early 20s, it was a terrible time to be a gay person, as we all know with AIDS. Men were dying, men had HIV. We lost so many people. Go to a party, look around at your five closest friends. Two years later they won’t be there anymore.”

Pancake had a few interactions with a gay man in his early 30s who criticized the actor for being 51.

“You’re either going to be my age or you’re going to be dead,” Pancake told the guy at a gathering.

“I would rather be dead than your age. I would rather be dead,” Pancake said the man replied.

Pancake then launched into a speech about ageism in the gay community: “I should say this to this person’s face, and hopefully they’ll listen to this. And maybe I’ll just to say it them. I’ll be like, ‘Bitch, do you know how many of my friends wish they had lived to see this age? How dare you, as a young gay man, say you’d rather be dead.’ Bitch, my friends did die. My uncle died, my boss died, so many acquaintances, people I worked with at Johnny Rockets when I first moved here. The best guy in the world — two weeks later you come back and he’s dead. That’s how life was for us back in the ’80s and early ’90s.”

“I fought for you, bitch. You couldn’t be out and be an actor when I first moved here. I fought for you, I marched for you. Not just me, but all the guys my age, a lot of whom died, made the world OK for you now. So have some fucking respect for your elders — the lesbians that helped us, all your gay elders, because a legion of men and women died to give you the world you have now.”

Well said Sam. Bravo!

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(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

3 Remarks

  1. Sam is telling the truth. I am sorry the truth hurts. I was in my mid-20s in the mid-’80s. I was not fully out but knew who I was. I lived a somewhat sheltered life. I joined the Air Force in 1984 and my first assignment was Germany. I heard about this fuzzy HIV/AIDS thing. But when I went to Germany it was everywhere-posters, support groups… One thing that always bothered me about the gay community is gays not knowing about their history. I am in my early 60′s now. I see how young folks are coming out and being who they fully are at an early age and I weep. You just don’t know how fortunate you are. There have been lots of blood, sweat, and tears that have paved your way. Respect those older than you. Learn from them. Not all of them want to get into your pants. As I always have said, “Nothing will happen to you that you will not let happen.” We are all in this together. We are a community. don’t forget that. We have not fully arrived yet. We will always be a cudgel in the world somehow. Know your history embrace it. Hug someone over 30.

  2. I agree 100%. So many younger folk take it for granted how much easier it is now to be out. I wish they could appreciate what the older generations have gone through for them to be so cavalier with their new found freedoms.

  3. February 1st, 2020 at 9:24 am
    Joe from Chicago says:

    I, for one, truly appreciate all Sam said. The younger gay men don’t know the excruciating pain, trauma, and terror us older guys have gone through, and still go through because we had people we loved ripped from our lives at the ages they are right now. The stigma still lives on. Bravo, Sam.

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