When you get old you become invisible, apparently. That’s what our parents and grand-parents tell us. We probably are aware that we don’t notice old people as much. What about if you’re gay and old? Gay activists are thought of as being youthful rabble-rousers filled to the brim with energetic conviction, ready to turn the establishment on its head. Does that mean that the older generation of gay men should stop living their lives, accept the passage of years and lessened persuasion?
The subjects of “Before you know it,” a documentary currently available for streaming online via iTunes and Amazon, are late-night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades, and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the U.S., many of whom apparently are confronted with high levels of discrimination, neglect, and exclusion. But rather than gloomily wax poetics on the shrinking of our humanity, “Before” is about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and formed communities of renewal, and camaraderie, whether these communities be senior living facilities or lively activist enclaves or the nightlife. An ensemble cast of three gay seniors inhabits this film with resilience, humor and an indulgent approach about life and people from which we can probably all draw lessons.