Guide to the Good Life

with The Old Gays

Listen On Google

Sex, romance, death and divorce are just four of the subjects the Old Gay Guys explore during this Smart Sex, Smart Love podcast. Bill Lyons, 79; Jessay Martin, 70; Robert Reeves, 80; and Mick Peterson, 67; like to call themselves the “Old Gay Guys,” but that doesn’t even come close to describing who they are and the impact they have made on literally millions of lives! The four friends modeled for Men’s Health, and “we dropped our pants” when we were asked,” they all laugh about their first “exposure” to celebrity status. They were introduced through Grindr and then began TikTok messages in late 2021. Today, they log some 10.5 million followers on TikTok and close to one million on Instagram. Their audience is mostly women under the age of 35. Asked why they think their biggest fans are the younger generation, they responded, “young people look up to us; they understand our struggles and what we’ve been through and how it affects their own future.”

In this podcast, the Old Gay Guys tell their story, freely discuss their sex lives, help dispel the myths of aging, and talk about their recently released book, “The Old Gays’ Guide to the Good Life.

Dr Joe Kort 0:05
Hello everyone and welcome to Smart sex smart love. We’re talking about sex goes beyond the taboo and talking about love goes beyond the honeymoon. Today we’re the podcast title is the old gay guys get real on sex, romance, death and divorce. I’m actually really excited about this one because I’ve been watching these guys on Tik Tok for a long time. My guests today are the old gay guys as they call themselves. I’m very excited to introduce Bill Lyons. Just say Martin, Robert reads, And Mick Peterson. As a group. These four gay social media personalities and LGBTQ rights activists first began to gain a following about five years ago as a promotional video for Grindr. They gained momentum two years ago when their tic TOCs went viral, which is probably when I saw you. They now have 1 billion followers across social media platforms. And they recently published a book the old gay guys guide to the good life. All four live in Cathedral City, California, Bill MC and Robert Shara home across the street from just say, Bill is 79 Just say a 70. Robert is AD and MC as the youngest old gay guy at 67. Welcome, everyone. So let me tell you, I’m so happy about this for so many reasons. And I’m not going to talk too much about it. But I’ve always been, you know, I’m 60 now but I always when I came out, I was 14 and I was always drawn to older gay men with their wisdom and their the things that that they could teach me and what life was like for them beforehand. And so I’m so happy to have older gay guys still older than me. And my as I’m 60 was there like a plane? was out. Yeah.

The Old Gay Guys 1:56
I think that’s the way

there’s a hot there’s

Dr Joe Kort 2:10
no problem at all.

The Old Gay Guys 2:11
We go. Oh, that’s okay. You can keep that in. That’s part of our day. I know you’re

Dr Joe Kort 2:21
I love it. Man, I love it. I love it. You guys are so real. So what what I was just saying is how much I love. Always love getting feedback from older gay guys. And now I am an older gay guy. And I like to get feedback from younger gay guys. So I mean, to me, this is like, all important stuff for everybody to learn about. Yes, yes. And absolutely. Yeah. And I love your Charmin. And you’re so real. I just love I mean, that’s just feel like that’s what we should see in our community. So without me saying anything more. I’m sure our listeners would love to hear how the four of you got together. Can you talk about that and how you got started? The old gay guys movement. You all come from very different backgrounds. Robert, you were a city planner. Just say was a professional singer. Bill, you spent most of your life working in interior design industry and make you’re a technical writer and professional actor. And you recently modeled for Men’s Health magazine. Is that correct? Yes.

The Old Gay Guys 3:21
The four of us did. Yeah. And we were negative nude.

Dr Joe Kort 3:27
And you have no inhibitions, right?

The Old Gay Guys 3:31
Take your clothes off. Wait, drop our pants.

Dr Joe Kort 3:37
Well, so how did you guys get together?

The Old Gay Guys 3:40
We were neighbors and friends. And just that friendship kind of more than two. Business saying yeah, it

Speaker 2 3:55
was a social thing. You know, went up John, Bob’s former tenants, man named John introduced his boyfriend Ryan to us. And John referred to us as the old farts. But John had evidently when he grew up as a child was raised by two grandparents. So he was very used to he was very comfortable with older people. And so he introduced Ryan, who is a videographer and a documentary film producer, and director and we did some tests things together just to shoot the breeze really. And then he brought us over. He suggested the for gate for old gays as a concept to grinder. And that was our first gate and after grinder. We went independent and started doing the tech talks about in January of last year.

The Old Gay Guys 4:58
2021 Oh,

Speaker 2 4:59
just say Number 2021. And then it just took off in 2022.

Speaker 1 5:04
Were you nervous about it? Because social media is so youth oriented? Were you nervous thinking it’s not going to work?

The Old Gay Guys 5:12
We didn’t know any better. Yeah.

We didn’t know who our audience was going to be.

And I really didn’t think much about it. I just did it for fun. And the outcome was totally unexpected.

Yeah, I mean, 10 and a half 11 million followers on Tiktok. And I think we reached a million.

I mean, Sukhram. Yeah, we’re getting close to that. We’re not there. Yeah. And

and so it’s, it’s phenomenal. It’s shocking. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. And to think that most of our audience is under the age of 35.

Dr Joe Kort 5:55
Wow, I didn’t know that. Yeah.

The Old Gay Guys 5:58
And but basically, the core group of our audience is women between the ages of 20 and 30.

Dr Joe Kort 6:09
Now, why do you think that is?

The Old Gay Guys 6:11
We’re pretty glad

some of the mask, like for example, Bill always gets requests about, about if he could be their grandfather. I mean, he’s very grandfatherly and a lot of young people don’t have grandparents are not in contact with grandparents. And so in that sense, we’re young people look up to us, I think they understand our struggles through what we’ve been through, and how it reflects upon their own futures, as well as the millennial generation is very tuned into the world. And I’m what amazes me is their activism, and their commitment. And I salute them.

Dr Joe Kort 7:02
I love what I love is that in my generation, probably in your generation, older gay guys disappeared. You didn’t see him at the bars, you didn’t see them out anymore. You just didn’t see them. And you’re like, you’re like Cher, you’re like saying, I’m not going away. We’re here, and we’re gonna be in your face. I love it.

The Old Gay Guys 7:19
Yeah, that’s really a lot of the attraction people have to us, the younger people, because we’re older guys that are highly visible, and they’re not my law lovers.

They don’t really what they really want to know, as our backgrounds because they don’t really know what happened to us, you know, when we came out? Yes.

Dr Joe Kort 7:51
And I love when you did, there’s a video recently where you showed yourself as younger men, and you had stories around that I like to do that for myself. I like to put myself on video on social media, and show people what I used to look like what my husband and I used to look like. So that you see that there’s a whole history, we didn’t just appear here at this age.

The Old Gay Guys 8:12
It took a couple of years, at least.

A couple of generations. Yeah.

Dr Joe Kort 8:21
Well, let’s get right to what you guys wanted to talk about. You sent me some questions, and I want to ask them and I’m a sex therapist. So this is right up my alley and no pun intended. But um, can you tell us about sex at your age and your sex lives if you want to be open about it? Well, also, I’m

The Old Gay Guys 8:44
about to set

Speaker 2 8:47
a you know, for me, I’ve been counted the last time I had text was in New York City. The last time we were there. All right. So you’re very you’re still sexually active. Let’s coming up to a year. So glad to

The Old Gay Guys 9:09
be up on three weeks for me.

Speaker 4 9:14
And I was celibate for 10 years between 2008 and 2018. And then I discovered that some of the guys, you know on our social platforms thought I was cute. And just recently I have joined a couple dating services and it’s quite fun.

Speaker 3 9:48
And then I am a fan of online dating. That’s the way I meet people and I I would describe myself as moderately active. Great.

Dr Joe Kort 10:05
See, so many gay men say to me, you know, I’m married, right? So I mean, I am not out in the dating world, but I have a lot of clients that are in friends that are. And they say that as you get older, it starts to disappear, and people aren’t as interested. And it goes, starts to go away. But you’re like saying, no, no, that’s not the case.

Speaker 4 10:24
No, it’s not. Because when I go online, I specified the age range of guys that I’d like to be with. And it’s like, 35, to 65. But it’s the young kids who always fill up my mailbox. If I

Speaker 3 10:46
wanted to, I could probably connect with someone almost every time I go online, but I’m very picky.

Speaker 2 11:01
Yeah. And for me, you know, I do I am on a couple of apps. And I do check them every so often, but like, like, I’m very picky right now. I’m more concerned about my, my overall health. I train a lot. And between those two things, and also the old gays. I have my plateful. And so I’ve chosen kind of to take a step back.

Dr Joe Kort 11:33
I think it’s great that their choices, right? It’s not like you feel forced into anything that because of the gay community or a good one of the questions that you have here. And I do want to ask about is the subject of age discrimination in the gay male culture? What’s that been like for you?

Speaker 3 11:51
There are a few people who won’t touch it, because here over 60 or something,

The Old Gay Guys 12:02
and there are a few people that won’t touch you because you’re 30 or something. I’m not an ageist, I, I can only speak for me, I go for the individual. And I don’t need to know your age. But you must be legal. Yeah.

Speaker 2 12:19
You know, as far as the gay community is concerned, yes, there are times when I’ve walked into an establishment, that’s gay, and the young person will look right through me. You know, and but then on the other hand, there are a lot of older gays, I look right through me as well, you know, but, yeah, so where I’m attracted to and where I’m getting the most interest from our young men under the age of 35. And men over the age of 60. So I don’t know. And I think that the guys between 35 and 60, well, you know, they’re busy working, you know, or maybe they’re in a relationship, you know, until they look, and they’re discreet, and they don’t post a picture.

Speaker 3 13:07
A lot of men that age bracket, have are no longer youth, and are creeping towards our age and our can pray to have it turned off by it.

Speaker 2 13:23
Yeah, I think the presence of ourselves and other people now, of seniors, on the internet, on apps, you know, we’re not the only group anymore. And I think that rebuilding visibility will help to dispel these these myths, you know, that, you know, not only, you know, after age 40, you know, do you stop dating and having sex, but you know, you’re you’re one step from the nursing home. I mean, you know, I think that’s the problem with our culture. I think it’s a cultural thing as well. Where there’s a rejection of that, whereas in other cultures, you don’t see that.

Dr Joe Kort 14:08
And I’ve always, you know, what you kind of are doing together reminds me of The Golden Girls, I’m sure you get this all the time. You know, they were the four women living together. And I always thought, wouldn’t it be nice if you lose a partner or you are alone or you’re widowed or single to have other people and so you’ve, you’ve kind of done that?

Speaker 3 14:26
Yes. And I have brought other people back, you can use as sounding boards when you’re dealing with medical issues or our social issues. I think that’s important.

Dr Joe Kort 14:44
Now, have you been married then you’ve been married in relationships still are?

The Old Gay Guys 14:50
No, I’ve been married.

But I’ve never been married, but I’ve had two long term relationships one lasted five years. Well Less than 16

Speaker 2 15:01
Yeah, because I live in California and my partner and I, we were together 25 years. But we formed a domestic partnership when those were, you know, in law. And so when we split, we had to have that a partnership of no old in family court. So, yeah, and because of divorce was really messy. It costs me five figures. I don’t know what it cost him. But it cost me five figures.

Dr Joe Kort 15:34
It’s just like, yeah, just like you would hit gonna be going through an actual divorce is what that is.

Speaker 2 15:39
I mean, technically, yes. The domestic partnership was ended and by the court order, and so it’s a divorce. So I’m one of the gay divorce. It’s

Speaker 3 15:54
I have had like Bill to long term relationships, but not had in a legal ties within the warm like, man.

Dr Joe Kort 16:07
Okay. How about you just say,

Speaker 5 16:12
I’ve had two long ones, also, and some short ones that have been wonderful. And we’re all friends. Still, there was no anger or anything that separated us. It was just we realized that we weren’t meant for each other. So you’re a lesbian?

The Old Gay Guys 16:33
Know, I have an ally.

Dr Joe Kort 16:40
Did you ever think you would ever see gay marriage the way we’re seeing legal marriage? I mean, I never thought that would ever happen. No,

The Old Gay Guys 16:47
no, no, not in my lifetime. It was the biggest shock that I’ve had. Yeah, that

as President Obama.

Speaker 2 17:00
You know, for me, I wish that law, gay marriage had been legal. And when I when my partner and I split up, because then it wouldn’t have been too acrimonious. Because we went to arbitration. And, you know, California is a community property state. And so the reason why the divorce was messy was over the, you know, assets being commingled and how you pull that apart. You know, and if you’re married in a community property, state, you just split it 5050. But that wasn’t the case in a domestic partnership.

Dr Joe Kort 17:37
Tell me what made you decide to write a book and tell us about it about writing? Well, we

The Old Gay Guys 17:42
were approached on the book about I think it was instigated by our agents, and they have a book division and relations with a number of partners and we were approached by Harker way, which is division of HarperCollins. And they had a writer a transgender, by the name of Deb, Deb spare that we worked with who was wonderful to work with.

Speaker 2 18:31
Yeah, and Deb’s actually came to us through our literary agent. And then what she wrote a book proposal that was not shopped around, and I’m Dr. Wade, wonderful lady and and Karen Rinaldi, loved it. And so, we started writing dibs, started writing the book with us. And you can see how she put the whole thing together during complex kind of puzzle if you think about it, because we did individual interviews and group interviews, and the group interviews were fun, I think, yeah, I enjoyed that. Yeah, I just enjoyed Sharon.

Dr Joe Kort 19:15
What do you want people to take away from the book when they’re done? What do you want them to get from it?

Speaker 3 19:21
I think there are a lot of messages. I know messages I hope to impart is life can be full of wonderful surprises. If you just allow yourself to take time and let them happen. And it’s just, it’s a great trip if you make it a good trip.

Speaker 2 19:59
yet, I’ll second that with what Robert says, I would like the readers to be inspired. And to also understand the role of patience. And that life is, is a journey. And that if, as Bob said, if you will open and be open to the opportunities that like presents itself to you, no matter where you are in life, whether you’re in Nigeria, you know, whether in your Westchester County or you know, what’s best Palm Beach where, you know, or you know, wherever that you can rise and achieve what you want to in life, but it’s so important to, to be inspired by something. And

Speaker 4 20:47
I hope people realize that, you know, with all this good we’ve had, we’ve also had the bad part of it, too. But we’ve all learned from our lessons, and I think are wiser for it. And I’ve never been happier in my life. And right now,

The Old Gay Guys 21:06
to me. Aging has been an awesome thing, because I’ve been surprised by every year that it’s not as old as I thought it was. Even I just turned 70 A couple of months ago, and I’m not crippled, broken, ruined, ruined, but not crippled, broken. I’m still living in I feel good. There’s things my body won’t do. But most of the time, it does what I want it to do. Yeah, you just got to keep that laughter and that youth spirit in you as your age also.

Dr Joe Kort 21:43
I can’t tell you how therapeutic this is for me, because I just turned 60 And it’s such a weird age. It’s like, it’s just a different day when I turned 50 I love that when I turned 40 I love that 30 I loved but 60 I just feel like, I don’t know, it just feels serious now. But you’re saying you’re saying you can tell them fun? You know,

Speaker 2 22:04
I hear I hear that 60s, the new 50. So, you know, you have a ways to go.

Dr Joe Kort 22:10
I hope so. You do you make it fun? You and and I liked that you talked I hope in the book, you’ve talked about some of the bad times, and how you recovered from it. Because, you know, look, our generation has been through the HIV crisis. You know, all the homophobia, all the shit that that we’ve had to deal with in our culture. But you survived it. And I think that’s so important for us all to see. Yes, yes.

Speaker 5 22:35
And I was lucky that I had their friends, but I call them my gay mom and dad, Joe and Bob, who to read through their stories of coming out which I thought we were having a hard time just like you do what you have to pack up your luggage and take it to a house. You can’t walk down the street and drag, you know, so so we had lucky. I mean easier than they did. And hopefully we’re making it easier for those that come along behind this. Yes. And

Dr Joe Kort 23:04
yes. You also wrote a children’s book you see here my four fabulous uncle’s which I love. So tell us about that.

Speaker 3 23:12
That was another project in which the sponsor which was five or came to us and wanted to do this children’s book with four characters, Marvel laughter, our personna and they created these cartoon like characters, which look trying to sort of like us. Kindness sword, and then we had a few interviews with them. And

Speaker 4 24:02
a book. Yeah. And it was, it was distributed via ebooks internationally to Oh, so it’s got a lot of presents. Yeah.

Speaker 2 24:21
It was released, I think, in May or something like that last year in commemoration of pride. And I think that’s what the message is, is you know, this young child has some questions about their identity, and about what they like and they don’t like and what they’d like isn’t altogether popular in school, and just to learn how to live with live with your choices, and the other side won’t, you know, in some ways, you just got to ignore them. Because that’s what it is noise.

The Old Gay Guys 24:54
Yes. And it makes you also be a leader as Nick was talking about your You’re leading them don’t always follow them. Because there’s people who are looking at you and saying who is doing that? Or she’s doing that? Maybe I can try it? Yes. You’re influencing?

Dr Joe Kort 25:11
Yeah. I mean, I’m telling you, I just think even for the young LGBT teens just seeing you having survived so much, and I know they go through, I’m a therapist, right? We see it in my, my practice where people are, they don’t think they can make it through and, and know and override all that and you’re showing them and teaching children that you can. Yeah, yes.

Speaker 2 25:32
You know, life is always gonna present you with challenges. The question is, it’s not a win lose kind of game, you know, the purpose of life’s challenges is to, to grow from them, and to become a fuller rounded person. And you will always have, like, my mother says, you will always have problems, you know, there will be new problems that replace the old problems, but you will always have problems. And that’s where they teach us in school, how to solve them.

Dr Joe Kort 26:06
That’s right. And that, sadly, they don’t teach us how to solve emotional problems or psychological problems. So that’s where you guys come in there I come in.

The Old Gay Guys 26:13

Dr Joe Kort 26:18
What would you say you want for each of you, if you could go around and say, uh, what you hope that your message is not just from the book, and not just from your tic TOCs. But just life, you know, what would be a message you would want people to take away,

Speaker 5 26:33
just be yourself, don’t let anybody influence you. Just be you.

Speaker 4 26:37
And I would say, always be honest with yourself, you know, look at it from both sides. And I hope people will walk away from the book seen what we’ve been through and seeing where we are now. And know that aging is can be a happier place.

Speaker 2 26:56
I think the words faith and trust go hand in hand. And I think that’s really where you find it. But you have to look for that. That’s one of life’s challenges.

Speaker 3 27:14
And I would say that when you’re searching for what you’re going to do with your life, as work, find something you like to do. And that you can be very passionate about. Because that is the pathway to success in business is if you’re you really like what you’re doing and you keep trying to excel at it, make it better. It’ll make your life better, and you’ll be a real happy person.

Dr Joe Kort 28:02
I totally agree with that as a sex therapist, and just I’m a regular therapist, too. It’s been my passion for 40 years. I’ve loved every minute of it. And I continue to

Speaker 2 28:12
funny, you should say that because my passion is sex, even though I’m not doing a lot of that now. My passion as the bye boys though here is about sex.

Dr Joe Kort 28:25
So, all right, so wait, if I could ask you this. So of the Golden Girls, if you were the Golden Girls, would that mean you would be Blanche?

The Old Gay Guys 28:34
Why did you cast your mind? Oh, okay. They they Oh wise one with us sharp mouth?

Speaker 2 28:57
I don’t know. It’s kind of strange. I’m sort of like the cross between Blanche and B. So I’ll take both roles, because we have to give a new one that just said

Dr Joe Kort 29:09
yeah. All right. So

Speaker 5 29:13
that wasn’t there. I was not a golden girl. I was I was I guys I was a dynasty queen that Dominique Devereaux,

Dr Joe Kort 29:23
yeah. Oh, I love that better

Speaker 4 29:27
than for me, and going back to the Golden Girls. I was rose.

Dr Joe Kort 29:33
I relate to that. I’m Rose myself, I get it. All right. Um, before we end, is there anything that you want to make sure you say before we go.

The Old Gay Guys 29:45
I’m so glad we had this time together. And we love you all. And we wouldn’t be here without our PR people loving us back. So thank you for having us here today.

We’re gonna break into

Transcribed by