How TikTok was taken over by the Old Gays

In some circles, “old gay” is what they call you after you turn 30. But on TikTok, actual Old Gays have taken over by wearing the epithet with pride. This group of four friends with an average age of 74 shares their lives, lip syncs and lewks with viewers daily, and their content is so infectiously positive that they have amassed over 11 million followers. Now, they’re releasing their first book, The Old Gays Guide to the Good Life.


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♬ Karma – Taylor Swift

The Old Gays are Robert (80), a retired town planner, Mick (67), a bodybuilder, Jessay (70), a professional singer, and Bill (79), a retired interior and fashion designer. All four live in Cathedral City, a neighboring town to the queer-elder friendly Palm Springs.

“Down the road in LA,” Mick told The Guardian in a new profile of the group, “the culture of youth is everything. Once you turn 40, unless you’re married and with a big career, you’re becoming invisible. It’s the same in many places across the world: mainstream culture emphasizes that. We exist to put the lie to that: to spread our energy. Showing the world how life can be, and bringing hope – I think – to people in places where that might not seem possible, whether because of age or sexuality.”

Not only is the group known for putting on hilarious routines, they are not afraid to dress risqué, modeling body confidence to a massive audience. “I didn’t get why people wanted to see us like that. I’m not sure I do now,” said Jessay. “But because of the rest of these guys, I’m more confident. I shut my mouth, get on with it and have a blast.”

“I’m surprised by myself sometimes,” added Robert. “I don’t think all of us felt so at home in our older bodies before. Now, with all the love we get, we feel so free.”

That feeling of freedom is exactly what has won them over with viewers. “It’s authenticity,” Robert said. “We feel free to be ourselves, entirely. For some younger people we’re role models that they haven’t had in their lives: substitute parents, grandparents, guncles. And for people of our generation, we’re visible, when so many are unseen. Whatever your sexuality, older people can watch our videos and see a ray of hope and optimism. Confirmation that you can get up, out and enjoy life, not spend every hour in front of a TV.”

While the group is largely a vehicle for joy, they do not shy away from serious topics. After having seen so much progress over their lifetimes, they feel a sense of responsibility in the current legislative backlash against LGBTQ+ rights. “We think about that a lot,” Robert said. “There’s the potential we could play a big role in the upcoming election.”


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♬ original sound – The Old Gays

“We are living what some of these bigoted candidates are attacking,” added Jessay. “We want the country to see us: four happy, gay men full of life. We’re a vision of what America, and the world, can be.”

Now in addition to their TikTok feed, their upcoming unfiltered book provides another avenue to tell their story. When it hits shelves on November 28, it will bring not only advice but “humorous, heartbreaking, shocking, and profound tales.”

Of particular poignancy is their recollection of living through the AIDS crisis.“The book is dedicated to those who are no longer here,” said Mick (HIV+ himself). “We’re what’s left of a generation who succumbed to a very nasty disease. I’m one of the lucky ones and feel I owe it to people who aren’t here to not only tell my story, but to show I can be old, gay, happy and content.”

Like their TikTok videos, The Old Gays Guide to the Good Life is not afraid to lay it all on the table, from the erotic to the economic and beyond. “Everyone deals with it all,” said Mick, “so why not put it out there?”

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