“Selfie-obsessed, avocado toast-chomping, snowflake!”
“Property-hoarding, climate-change complacent, bed-blocker!”
“Read a book!”
The combination of ever-increasing speed in technological change, rising life expectancy, a period of relative economic stability, the hard-fought-for (yet still unfinished) liberation struggles, the loosening of traditional, restrictive social ties (for many), and the decline of social mobility, means that it is little wonder intergenerational relationships have also been under some stress.
Increasingly the divide between generations has been added to those of class, nationality, race, North/South, leave or remain, in public debate. In 2010, the former Cabinet minister, and Lord of the humblebrag, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts expressed concern in a book called The Pinch. Ten years later he declared the intergenerational contract (‘the principle that different generations provide support to each other across the different stages of their lives’) under threat. He has not been alone in becoming increasingly worried. From parliament, to EU, UN, and World Health Organisation warnings about the danger of too great an imbalance between generations abound,
There is a particular version of generation gap experienced by LGBTQ people. who are more likely to be unable to rely on family to provide a framework to manage either inheritance or legacy. Further, the decline of the local gay pub in favour of the convenience of the dating app, means that we filter out entire generations of people. ‘No fats, no femmes, no Blacks, no Asians’ is perceived as ignorant – setting age limits is uncontroversial by comparison. It is possible for the 20 year old to never be in the same space, or even see the 50 year old gay man. Language, folk knowledge, and shared experiences become fewer and we run the danger of losing subcultural markers – apart from those that are commercially useful to mainstream discourse. For minorities within LGBTQ populations this may mean that younger and older people rarely get to speak, share common ground, or perceive each other as a resource for solidarity.
For these reasons, BlackOut works to foster intergenerational dialogue. In Black History Month last year, we teamed up with The Mix, the online youth advice charity, to host a series of conversations between young creatives/activists at early stages in their careers, and some men who had been involved for longer in making breakthroughs that benefit Black and LGBTQ people in the UK and around the world.
[You may recognise them :)]
The younger creatives/activists asked the questions, we captured the responses in this series of short videos. Watch the first three videos here and see the rest over on our You Tube Channel or on our new mobile app The BlackOut Hub
Thanks to our friends at The Mix; and to our history-makers of all generations.