YOUNG, GAY AND ILLEGAL – Then & Now is a powerful insight into the divide between generations within the gay community and the different challenges people have faced over the years.
In the video, Luke Shayler and Trent Owers sit two openly gay men, Louis (13) and Percy (78), opposite one another for a frank discussion about how they feel times have changed, to ask each other questions, and to share anecdotes from their lives.
Percy recounts stories from before the decriminalisation of homosexuality 50 years ago, and both discuss their present-day experiences, in which acceptance is more frequently the norm.
The video begins by introducing Louis and Percy, as well as Percy’s life partner, Robert, before launching immediately into the discussion. Louis sits forward in his chair as Percy asks him about his friends, his favourite subject, and how he came to figure out that he’s gay.
“I remember getting the thoughts,” he says, smiling slightly. “Because people weren’t telling me I was, I was kinda getting the idea when I was being with girls so much that it was like, when they would talk about boys I would start agreeing with them and then it just naturally happened.
“I was confused because […] I didn’t even know what it was,” he continues. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as liking other boys.”
The conversation moves on to the two men’s families and their experiences of coming out. “I always felt that my father knew that I was gay,” Percy begins, sitting back, with a reminiscent look. “I didn’t know my father terribly well; we didn’t get on very well, but on reflection, I thought he did know.”
He describes a time, soon after he and Roger got together, that his mother came to visit: “I was showing her the guest bedroom,” he says, “and she said, ‘I know darling, this is your bedroom, isn’t it?’, and I said, ‘No, my bedroom is Roger’s bedroom’. And she just looked at me, and I said, ‘Do you want a cup of tea, or a scotch?’, and she said, ‘I think I would have the scotch, please’.”
Trent and Luke have truly outdone themselves. The importance of bridging the generational gap in the gay community can’t be overstated, and they’ve achieved just that with this video.
Since its release, the video has gained traction across news organisations, and rightly so. The messages from Percy and Louis’s discussion deserves to be spread, to help make people more aware of both the past struggles and current experiences of the gay community.
Take a look at what YouTubers got up to at Pride in London this year, or read our latest Weekly Round-Up which includes a video on FOMO, secret trips to New York, and a terrific new music video!