The boldest betting scam ever? Story behind a plot to trick the bookies 40 years ago

VERY few of the racegoers who watched a horse called Gay Future walking around the parade ring before the 4.20 race at Cartmel racecourse exactly 40 years ago today, on August bank holiday Monday 1974, would have fancied his chances.

The jockey down to ride the horse in the morning newspapers was an inexperienced amateur. Yet not only did Gay Future win, he did so in impressive style, routing the field by 15 lengths at mouth-watering odds of 10-1.

Gay Future’s victory was the final part of what was arguably the most ingenious horse-racing betting coup of all time.

Operation Crock Of Gold was a cunning plan hatched a year earlier in Ireland to relieve bookmakers on both sides of the Irish Sea of around £300,000 (more than £3million today) and it came agonisingly close to succeeding.

The scheme involved the switching of horses and jockeys, disguises, a novel use of soap-flakes and took advantage of traditional bank holiday traffic jams.

It also relied on a knowledge of betting rules and the isolation of the quaint Cartmel racecourse in the Lake District.

They were entered as decoys to be withdrawn at the last minute, to put the bookies off the scent.

Murphy’s syndicate knew that as the other horses would be nonrunners all the money they had placed on multiple bets would end up going on Gay Future – the one horse that was definitely going to race.

Meanwhile at Cartmel everything was done to put punters off backing Gay Future.

Before the race soapflakes were rubbed on to the horse’s body to make it look as if he was sweating up.

“The horse came into the paddock looking like Father Christmas,” Tony Collins later recalled.

The inexperienced amateur who had been down to ride Gay Future in the morning newspapers was replaced in the saddle by a top Irish amateur called Tim Jones, who had ridden the real Gay Future before.

Jones pretended to have trouble mounting his horse, all designed to make its price drift.

Edward O’Grady’s head lad, who had been working with Gay Future in Ireland, disguised himself with a wig and sunglasses at the track so that no one would recognise him.

The genius of choosing Cartmel as the venue to land the gamble, and doing it on an August bank holiday – the busiest day of the racing year – now came into play.

Cartmel was not connected to the bookmakers’ Exchange Telegraph system by which firms could communicate to their representatives at the racetracks.

In this premobile phone age there was just one way of contact with the outside world: a red phone box which members of Murphy’s gang made sure was kept permanently occupied.

The bookmaking firm Ladbrokes realised it could face a sizeable payout with a Gay Future win and so sent a motorbike rider from Manchester to drive to Cartmel to place bets on the horse to shorten his price.

But he got caught in the bank holiday traffic and when he arrived the race was already off.

The Crock Of Gold syndicate got ready to pop the champagne corks. Some bookmakers paid up straight away but others delayed.

The gang would probably have got away with it had it not been for a reporter from a racing newspaper ringing up Collins’ yard in Scotland that same evening.

Collins wasn’t there but a stable worker let slip the horses who should have gone to the other race meetings hadn’t left the yard.

It was clear to the racing authorities the two other horses had never been intended runners.

Murphy and Collins eventually stood trial at Preston Crown Court, charged with a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

There was much sympathy for the men, though with many admiring the ingenuity of their scheme.

When Murphy was asked in court: “Do you regard yourself as taking part in a stroke of genius or in something criminal?” he replied: “A stroke of genius, Sir.”

Both men were found guilty and fined and were later banned from British racecourses for 10 years by the Jockey Club, racing’s governing body.

Some believed the jury’s guilty verdict may have been due to the anti-Irish prejudice in the mid-1970s due to the activities of the IRA.

In 1980 a film Murphy’s Stroke about the gang and their daring scheme was made starring Pierce Brosnan.

Murphy died in 1982 but Collins, now 78, still lives in Scotland.

Forty years on the exploits of the Operation Crock Of Gold syndicate still divide people.

Were they villains trying to take money from the bookmakers by fraudulent means or were they likeable chancers trying to get one over the “Old Enemy” – and pull off the big win of which every punter dreams?

 And these sweeping changes of attitude won’t limit themselves to gay men, mind you. In the future,

all queer types will be accepted — even by the community itself. Trans people, lesbians,

and bisexuals won’t be greeted with popping eyes of disbelief or arched eyebrows of disdain.

They will mix, banter, marry, and carry on, and all kinds of people will have no problem dealing with it. Trans people won’t even be called trans people —

they’ll be “men,” “women,” or anything else they want to be called.

And bisexuals will also be free of pigeonholing attempts, just as lesbians will be happy to see gay men, and vice versa,

in a world where it’s realized that the community that loves itself gets the most approbation from others.

 The future might actually be a bit boring for gays, because

— when you put all my above expectations together — there will be very little element of surprise left.

Everyone will assume you’re gay and be OK with it, and you can all sit around and watch your gay media together.

But what media! Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will be in charge of all network programming,

Laverne Cox will appear on every single channel, and Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka will talk about their family on every…Oh, they already do?

Never mind. I guess the future has come sooner than expected. But there isn’t a Liza channel yet, so we definitely still have some ways to go.

The gay doctor is known as an “activist physician” to some,

as he’s been happy to serve as a public advocate for people with or at risk of sexually transmitted infections

— giving interviews, attending fundraisers, dressing in drag to administer meningitis vaccines,

and participating in public service announcements about the importance of treatment and prevention

(one of Daskalakis’s stigma-battling efforts included a mid-2010s HIV web series he hosted on Plus’s website, The T With Dr. D).

Daskalakis was always more than a public face or figurehead, though. Raised in Virginia and trained in prestigious New York and Boston hospitals,

Daskalakis was an attending physician at the Big Apple’s Bellevue Hospital and medical director for the city’s nationally respected Mount Sinai Health

System before being hired in 2014 as assistant commissioner of disease control for New York’s Department of Health.

At that time, the doctor saw a huge opportunity with the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of health insurance,

especially among many young people. Daskalakis aggressively promoted PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for those at risk of HIV and TasP (treatment as prevention) for those living with it.

As part of his TasP efforts, Daskalakis spearheaded an effort known as “status-neutral care,” which aims to treat all patients the same,

regardless of HIV status. That approach includes testing all patients unaware of their HIV status and then offering follow-up care, regardless of the test’s results.

The goal is to keep as many people as possible either HIV-negative or unable to transmit the virus if they are HIV-positive by getting those individuals immediately on treatment.

Not only does the method expedite care and prevention, but it also tackles stigma by treating everyone the same and not assuming anyone is specifically susceptible to HIV.

Are there similarities or links in strategies to getting COVID and HIV under control?
Much of the infrastructure for COVID-19 is being built and utilized simultaneously.

We need to ask questions about what assets from the COVID-19 infrastructure we could leverage for HIV and other health conditions once COVID-19 is under better control. For example,

CDC has strongly encouraged the EHE jurisdictions to use novel and innovative activities to meet local needs in a tailored way,

especially during COVID-19. Innovations in testing and care delivery spurred by COVID-19 could help us overcome longstanding barriers to HIV prevention

and care in the long term by providing testing and care in more accessible, modern ways.

These kinds of innovative approaches include the use or expansion of telemedicine and telehealth, rapid HIV self-tests, mail-in self-tests, and other locally tailored, creative solutions.

It is also important to consider the lab and vaccine infrastructure being built for COVID-19 and how it can be leveraged for our other syndemics.

What are some things people living with HIV should know about the threat of not only COVID but also the isolation involved in lockdowns and the financial stress caused by the pandemic?
We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Based on limited data,

we believe people with HIV who are on effective HIV treatment have the same risk for COVID-19 as people who do not have HIV.

However, the available data do indicate that people with HIV and serious underlying medical conditions might be at increased risk for severe illness. In some studies, people with HIV were also more likely to have these comorbidities than others with COVID-19 infection. Higher rates of COVID-related hospitalization, admission into intensive care units, and/or death among people with HIV seem to be driven by underlying conditions,

lower CD4 cell count, and not being on effective HIV treatment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, and other emotions.

Some healthy ways to cope with these feelings include taking breaks from the news, taking care of your body by eating right and getting at least eight hours of sleep,

making time to do the activities you enjoy, and safely connecting with others to discuss your concerns and how you are feeling.

If you have HIV and are taking your medicine, it is important to take everyday preventive actions,

like wearing a mask, to prevent getting COVID-19; continue your HIV treatment; and follow the advice of your health care provider.

The concept of U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable) is becoming more widespread but isn’t really part of the mainstream health conversation.

How can we increase awareness of it?
U=U has been an important way to communicate that people with HIV on effective therapy with suppressed viral loads do not transmit the virus.

I think that we need to continue to magnify the data to the community of providers that serve people with HIV as well as people who are otherwise affected.

Working to create more status-neutral delivery of care regardless of HIV status is a way to bring the U=U message to life and address the institutions that maintain systems that support a divide between people with and without HIV.

We have a way to go, but I am excited to work to further mainstream this important science.

Despite a commitment from mainstream media outlets to cover LGBT+ topics through dedicated verticals, given the challenging media landscape of the past year there are simply fewer staffers to cover the biggest issues facing the community.

“The mainstream news world saw it as an opportunity,” says Tag Warner, chief executive at Gay Times. “I think that was done as this kind of surge.

And then they realised they were entering a complex space that requires a deal of knowledge, understanding and sensitivity.”

At the start of the year, BuzzFeed’s decision to lay off 15% of its workforce came under scrutiny when it was accused of letting go of people of colour and LGBT+ employees –​ including its deputy LGBT editor and LGBT video producer.

Anecdotally, when The Drum spoke to people within other publications who did not want to be named, when push comes to shove, these editorial sections are often the first to go.

And in some instances, a migration towards LGBT-first publications is sometimes too alluring, meaning retaining talent is a problem.

Conde Nast set up ‘Them’ in 2017, becoming the publishing house’s first LGBT-focused title.

It was led by Phillip Picardi but after less than two years at the helm, he made his way to Out to become its editor-in-chief.

But LGBT-first publications are also feeling the strain from a time of media uncertainty. In June this year, under Picardi’s steerage,

Out went through its second round of staff cuts. Parent company Pride

Media said it was due to a lack of funding and an increasing number of unpaid ad placement and commission fees.

Brand partnerships

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in brands partnering with the LGBT community and publishers have tried to take advantage of the rush.

PinkNews’ Wilshaw puts this down to visibility. “Pride events, LGBT+ representation, equal rights

– these all contribute to LGBT+ issues being elevated in a way that suddenly attracts attention”.

He argues that “as with any unique audience, brands are keen to understand how they can take into account the unique needs and behaviours of the LGBT+ community, and rightly so”.

Wilshaw highlights that it’s not a “passing phase”.

Now, 49% of Gen Z identify as something other than 100% straight.

“The stats don’t lie. If you’re not interested in the LGBT+ community yet, you will be soon,” he predicts.

PinkNews has different approaches to working with different brands. Wilshaw says for some, it’s about showcasing their incredible work as a diverse employer.

In such cases, the digital publisher would partner on its flagship events,

such as its annual PinkNews Awards, which celebrates politicians, activists and brands that celebrate the status quo.

What Will Gay Culture Look Like in 2035?

As I wrote “Future Queer” for The New Republic, I spoke with many writers and activists, and asked for their predictions of what queer culture might look like in 20 years.

In their answers I found both a faith that the Internet will connect us and a faith that it will divide us, a desire to archive the stories of the first generation lost to AIDS more carefully,

and an excitement about the way our sense of gender is changing us both as individuals and as a community. I’d like to share some of the responses I received:

In 20 years, my hope, at least, is that we don’t assume our kids are heterosexual from the moment they’re born, and that we don’t use words like “tolerance” because really,

it’s intolerable. In terms of things “queer,” the discourse is changing at a fast clip right now.

Gay and lesbian would seem, to those outside the mainstream, old hat—“homonormative,”

if that’s a thing. We’re having ever-evolving conversations about the meaning of gender,

more people are coming out as trans, and trans, it seems, has evolved into a kind of continuum, which is exciting.

I do wish everyone involved in the conversation would listen to one another more. We’ve come a long way in the past decade.

But it took years to get to this point. Let’s not forget how new this is, and that rights can be taken away from us, just like that.

So, in 20 years, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we may still be right here.

My thought is that by 2035 the mainstreaming of queer life in America will be so complete that our concerns will turn to historical preservation,

and the documentation of harder times and battles.

Well, some of us will have those concerns. Many will simply take advantage of the freedom they have, never knowing

what we fought for so they could have it. I could go on about how important I think it will be to remember and highlight the work of the lost generation.

AIDS decimated our community, and our creative community was especially hard hit.

Many of those artists were the same ones on the front lines of the culture war.

May their work be sought out, brought back, made available for future generations.

The Future of LGBT+ Aging: A Blueprint for Action in Services, Policies, and Research

Only a few decades ago, the aging of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people was relegated to the shadows. The work of several courageous pioneers began to openly question common misconceptions of “old gays” as depressed, lonely, and sexually undesirable. Resisting prevailing stereotypes, they postulated that the positive management of a sexual minority identity was effective in supporting gay men and lesbians for successful aging (Adelman, 1990; Berger, 1980; Berger and Kelly, 1986; Butler and Hope, 1999; Gray and Dressel, 1985; Kehoe, 1986; Quam and Whitford, 1992; Sharp, 1997). Yet today, LGBT older adults remain largely invisible in aging services, policies, and research, despite the population’s rapid growth. An estimated 2.7 million adults ages 50 and older self-identify as LGBT in the United States, including 1.1 million who are ages 65 and older. By 2060, the number of older adults who self-identify as LGBT will exceed 5 million. These estimates more than double when considering same-sex behavior and romantic relationships

  • Androgynous: Identifying or presenting as both masculine and feminine, or neither masculine nor feminine.

  • Bisexual: A person who is physically and/or emotionally attracted to males/men and females/women. This term is sometimes used to refer to those who are attracted to people who identify outside the sex/gender binary.

  • Cisgender: A person whose gender identity aligns with their assigned sex at birth; a person who is not transgender.

  • Gay: A person who is physically and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same sex or gender, usually refers to men but sometimes refers to women.

  • Gender identity: One’s true sense of self related to an understanding or feeling about whether one is emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually a woman or a man, or both or neither, regardless of one’s assigned sex at birth.

  • Gender expression: The way a person expresses their gender through behavior, appearance, gestures, movement, clothing, and grooming, regardless of whether or not these conform to one’s current gender.

  • Gender non-conforming: People who do not conform to social expectations or stereotypes of gender based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth, or whose gender expression does not fit into traditional gender categories.

  • Genderqueer: Individuals who reject traditional gender categories and embrace fluidity of gender. They may not identify strictly as a man or a woman, or male or female; their gender may fall between or outside of these categories. Other related terms used include a-gender, bi-gender, genderfluid, third gender, or gender-diverse.

  • Intersex: A person who is born with genitals, organs, gonads, or chromosomes not clearly male or female, or both male and female.

  • Trans/Transgender: Umbrella terms used to describe people whose gender identity or gender expression and true sense of self does not align with their sex assigned at birth. Individuals who have already transitioned from one gender to another may no longer identify as transgender and may use only their chosen gender (e.g., woman or man).

  • Transman: Denotes female-to-male (FTM) transgender people; assigned female at birth, but whose gender identity is male.

  • Transwoman: Denotes male-to-female (MTF) transgender people; assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is female.

  • Two-spirit: Traditionally used by Native Americans who carry both masculine and feminine female spirits, and who have qualities or fulfill roles associated with both men and women; the term often embraces a continuum and fluidity of sexualities and genders

LGBT Aging as a Generational Concern

Generational considerations are critical in LGBT aging given the shifting social and legal contexts surrounding sexuality, gender, and age. In our studies we focus on three generations that have received limited attention: the Invisible Generation, the Silent Generation, and the Pride Generation, each with its own configuration of resources and risks.

The Invisible Generation experienced the Great Depression (1929–1939) and many fought in WWII—at which time LGBT identities were largely absent from public discourse. In the 1950s, the Silent Generation came of age against the backdrop of the McCarthy trials and the “lavender scare,” with sexual and gender minority identities cast as a threat to the security of the nation; it was a time when same-sex behaviors, typically characterized as sodomy, were criminal, and the American Psychiatric Association had classified homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder.

The Pride Generation came of age at a time of tremendous social change, as evidenced by the Stonewall riots (1969) and other social and civil rights movements. At this time, LGBT people became more visible in American society, marking the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Several other important changes occurred in the 1960s, including the beginning of decriminalization of same-sex behavior and the Civil Rights Act. In addition, homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder was removed from the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II-R) in 1973. A decade later, the AIDS pandemic began, further shifting cultural, social, and personal realities, and the need for care communities.

Addressing Historical and Contemporary Risks

Health disparities are differences in health, attributable to environmental, economic,

and social disadvantage. While most early LGBT health research focused on mental health disparities, we found in our early studies that LGBT older adults also are at elevated risk of social, economic,

and physical health disparities (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2011; Fredriksen-Goldsen et al.,

2013a), including social isolation, functional limitations, and disability.

Many LGBT older adults also experience unique barriers to care, including fear of accessing services

Human agency refers to the thoughts and actions taken by either an individual or a collective that exert power and shape future experiences.

LGBT midlife and older adults have over time engaged individual and collective human agency as they have built communities and systems of mutual support and resistance.

The Mattachine Society, one of the first national gay rights organizations for men, was established in 1950;

lesbians mobilized with the founding of The Daughters of Bilitis in 1955.

When governments and other institutions failed to recognize HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, those who are now midlife and older developed organizations and communities of care (de Vries, 2015; Orel and Fruhauf, 2015).

Today, despite a long history of marginalization, most LGBT older adults display remarkable resilience.

Through collective action, they resisted society’s repression, serving as catalysts for the changes we witness today.

Facilitating communication is one of the most important steps toward bridging these care gaps across the generations.

Actively having LGBT older adults work with others

—of all ages—to serve on organizational boards and committees strengthens organizations’ ability to create culturally responsive aging, health,

and cross-generational services. Activism and community organizing can provide a model of caring that benefits the entire LGBT community (including older adults), as well as across other ages, creatively discovering new ways to support the growing

and diverse older adult population, and the larger community. Programs to reduce isolation and loneliness by reducing stigma-related stress (Lyons, 2015)

and bolstering social networks would be widely beneficial. We are developing Generations:

Aging with Pride, as one of the first LGBT organizations designed to create cross-generational opportunities and evidence-based solutions to address LGBT aging and build a stronger community now, and for generations to come.

Moreover, provider trainings aimed at reducing bias and offering culturally competent care to older adults benefit not only LGBT older adults,

but also the increasingly diverse older adult population.              GO TO PART 7

The services of two racehorse trainers, Edward O’Grady, based in Ireland, and Old Harrovian Tony Collins, a stockbroker who had a small yard in Scotland, were enlisted.

Collins was sent a chestnut racehorse without any ability whose paperwork identified him as Gay Future.

But the real Gay Future, who looked similar to the other horse, was being trained to perfection by O’Grady in Ireland.

Collins was instructed to enter Gay Future in a race at Cartmel on August bank holiday Monday.

Two days before the race the real Gay Future came over by boat from Ireland and was taken in a horsebox to a quiet lane close to Cartmel racecourse where he was transferred to Collins’ horsebox, ready for the race the following day.

The syndicate knew Gay Future was a certainty for the race but if they had simply placed lots of big bets on the horse the bookmakers would have been suspicious.

So they disguised what they were doing. Collins was told to enter two other horses in meetings elsewhere in England with races taking place five and 10 minutes before and after Gay Future’s race at Cartmel.

Then on the morning of the big day Murphy and his associates flew to London and made a tour of betting shops, placing a vast amount of “multiple bets” coupling Gay Future with Collins’ other two runners.

But although Collins travelled to Plumpton in East Sussex, where one of his horses was entered, there was never any plan to run the other horses.

The Gay Future, According to Michael Musto

We’ve made gigantically fabulous strides in terms of visibility, rights, and acceptance over the last several decades,

but that’s mere pocket change compared to what awaits in the gay future. Sometime in the great beyond,

all the things we still struggle to attain will be achieved and taken for granted, and stuff we never even dreamt of will also be served,

as we enjoy a delicious reversal of the way things were traditionally known to be.

First of all — let’s start with the important stuff — there will be drastic changes in pop culture.

Even with all the advances we’ve seen in terms of showbiz’s gay inclusiveness, romantic plot lines in TV shows and movies today are still overwhelmingly straight,

and the mass audience generally doesn’t question that, accepting it as the status quo and a fair reflection of reality.

But that point of view is a bit presumptuous, since so many other gay plots could permeate the big and small screens and still not shake up the hetero-majority rule.

Alas, old-school alarmism prevents people from realizing that.

Too often, when new gay premises and characters pop up (whether it be on shows like Modern Family or on HBO), you continue to hear the old

“They’re taking over!” moans, along with cries that the LGBTs are seizing the world by force,

as if we were on some tyrannical crusade aimed at world domination.

 Well, in the future, none of these arguments will have to be shot down, because they won’t even be made in the first place.

People will just accept LGBT stories as easily as they will straight ones. (We’re already halfway there, but we’ll get all the way to the finish line.)

At some point in tomorrowland, audiences won’t equate attempts at increased visibility with some kind of dictatorial agenda.

As a result, no one writing a script will feel forced to assume that a man-woman scenario has to be the main thread of it,

let alone the only thread of it. What’s more, proposed movies will no longer be short-circuited by studios because they’re “too gay,”

entertainment reports about dating will actually cover some same-sex couples, and game shows will welcome a much broader spectrum of contestants to come onstage and thank their loved ones.

(Also, 99% of the songs you hear won’t be a he singing about a she, or vice versa.

“Love song” won’t automatically equal heterosexual love song. And we still won’t be seizing the world by force!) In fact,

thanks to evolving ideas and dissolving prejudices, things will become so enlightened that when one more husband-and-wife sitcom turns up,

the masses will start squealing in outrage, “This is ridiculous! The straights are taking over!”

 It will also be a wacky reversal when real people turn out to be gay, and no one will care enough to bat a lash about it.

When someone comes out to their mother, the feared response will turn out to be either “Duh,” or “Thank God.”

(Or maybe even “Join the club!”) When you hear that the guy you just met at a networking event — who didn’t “seem gay” — is indeed gay, you’ll just go, “Oh, OK.”

And eventually, everyone will drop their presumptions about what might or might not signify gayness.

Things will actually go so far in the other direction that in the gay future, people will assume that everyone is gay,

and they’ll be completely thrown when it turns out someone isn’t. If someone isn’t.

Perhaps most shockingly of all, no one will have to get hitched in order to keep up with their community.

There will be more wiggle room to establish an individual identity and not cloak it in ceremony,

if you don’t feel like it — though there will be plenty of gay rice to toss at those who opt for a more traditional route.

And those altar dwellers can procreate in ways that won’t be looked down on or considered to be somehow inauthentic.

People will be people, families will be families, and if gays want to play roles that were in the past only allowed for straights,

they won’t be demonized for grabbing at the chance.

Gay rights will keep coming, along with the gay rice, and shockingly enough, eventually it will be OK to be unfashionable.

Your tinted lenses will no longer have to match your handbag, and your ensemble won’t have to even match itself,

as you parade around, a proud “trashionista” with no idea of what the de rigueur thing is to wear. You might not even have to have the slightest affinity for Broadway musicals or piano bars

— though I realize that I am now getting into truly credibility-stretching territory here.

Meet Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Biden’s New Weapon Against HIV

Between 2013 — shortly before Daskalakis joined the NYC Department of Health

— and 2017, the rate of new HIV infections in the city among gay and bisexual men dropped by approximately 35 percent.

Now many look to Daskalakis to replicate his efforts on a national level, during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating physical and mental stresses for everyone on the planet, including people living with HIV.

The CDC’s new not-so-secret weapon connected with Plus to share his plans moving forward.

I am very excited about this opportunity.… [The] CDC leads HIV prevention efforts in the U.S.

and is playing a key role in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. This federal initiative builds on the work CDC has been doing and aims to accelerate the reduction of new HIV transmissions by at least 90 percent by 2030.

I believe that the EHE initiative and the national strategy provide a great road map for addressing HIV.

My goal is to push CDC’s role in implementing the HIV strategy forward and tweak it so it is more operational for delivering HIV services and data to end the epidemic.

To end the epidemic, we must have a clear focus on the STI and hepatitis syndemics and we must address the systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia that hamper our progress.

I’m thrilled that we are going to approach addressing HIV like a new outbreak all over again so we can end it.

Tell us more about how your efforts in New York can succeed nationally.
I think that lessons I have learned both in my work in HIV in as well as my role as incident commander over the measles outbreak of 2019 and COVID-19 in New York City will be helpful to guide my work at DHAP on the national level.

Listening more and talking less was an important part of my strategy in New York City and will be valuable in my new role at the CDC. Connecting to community, advocates,

and my colleagues working on EHE will be a critical part of my new role.

I am optimistic that my experience in New York City will be an important ingredient along with a healthy dose of humility and the voice of the national stakeholders in advancing my work at CDC.

Injectable HIV treatment has received Food and Drug Administration approval. Do you see that as an effective way to improve adherence for people living with HIV?
I think that the more options we have for treatment and prevention, the more likely individuals will be able to find an option that works in their lives.

Similar to birth control, not every option is perfect for every person, nor is any one option the definitive solution to adherence problems.

The amazing advances we are making in technology provide for a critical opportunity to implement multiple strategies at the same time with the goal of giving choices to an increasing number of people. Some people like pills.

Some people will like shots. Some people will like implants. The more ways we have to deliver safe and effective medications,

the more likely we are to find the right strategy for a larger number of people.

Do you have any plans to battle HIV stigma as part of your position at the CDC?
Controlling the HIV epidemic means that we need to relentlessly address the root causes and social determinants that stand in our way.

We need to aggressively work to disrupt the systems that create the schism between people based on their identity, including the result of their HIV test.

Our work must challenge the core drivers of HIV, including stigma. This job is at its core is an opportunity to dismantle stigma, a challenge that has been key to my entire career.

New revenue streams

However, in the face of such challenges some publishers are rethinking their entire business models.

Take the Gay Times; when its chief executive James Frost stepped down last year,

it welcomed a 25-year old, who did not come from a publishing background, to the top job.

“I am Gay Times’ target market,” says Warner on his appointment.

And despite not being from a publishing background, he contends his “naivety and ignorance has helped transform the organisation quite quickly”.

When Warner arrived, the Gay Times magazine was on a pedestal – “it was the business, and everyone treated it, in an editorial sense… like a God,” Warner admits.

Warner made it his mission to switch the whole thing on its head. “We now describe ourselves as a full-stack agency,” he said on its transformational year.

“I’m the consumer of a lot of this content and I know that I could never pay for it – it feels alien to me,” he says.

So, rather than apply a paywall to its website, the team thought out how they could create premium content that people buy into without a subscription service.

This year saw Gay Times pour money into production, enlisting the finest photographers, stylists and brands in town.

All done in-house, to ensure its magazine, website and social channels ooze a premium vibe.

Looking forward

Despite progress, even today, the mainstream media can be found guilty of insensitively poking fun. “When Elton John got married, there was a front-page that read ‘Elton takes David up the Aisle’,” says HuffPost’s head of entertainment Matt Bagwell. “It’s making sexuality a joke when it should be about being respectful.”

While the marginalised community get more show time by mainstream media, Bagwell calls for “normalisation” of reporting.

“Andrew Scott from Fleabag spoke a couple of weeks ago, to say he doesn’t like being described as ‘openly’ gay,” Bagwell divulges. “It’s about making LGBT people unremarkable, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Whether we will get to a point where LGBT media doesn’t sit apart from the mainstream, Bagwell is hopeful.

“I’m an optimist, I like to think certainly within my lifetime, we will get there,” he hopes. “But the way things are at the minute, with so much finger-pointing and polarisation, it does sometimes feel like two steps forward, four steps back.

And with hate crime on the rise, the need for LGBT coverage is paramount. “We live in changing times.

The world is moving at an incredibly fast rate. We’re living in an epidemic of murders of trans people, particularly trans people of colour,” says Warner. “

So for us, going forward, we need to make sure that we are always reflecting back that ever-changing nature of the world around us.”

In the early Aughts, my friends and I spent our Saturday nights at a gay dance club in the Bronx called the Warehouse,

a cavernous former loading dock turned into a makeshift gay club for men of color who were looking for either sex, love,

or a strong drink. Despite the club’s seemingly specific clientele—African-American men who slept with other African-American men —it really was a big tent affair.

At the time, pre-Internet, the Warehouse was the only show in town, so if you wanted to find young gay black men in a social setting,

you had to make your way to the Grand Concourse and find them among the thugged-out neighborhood boys, turned-out fashionistas,

discourse-ready academics, closeted choir directors, musical theater majors,

and black body-boys with their gym-ripped bodies. We all had to co-mingle with each other.

The Warehouse, as cliché as it sounds, was awash with a vast assortment of black queer humanity.

I partied, had sex with, and befriended folks who were for all intents and purposes, despite our shared racial experiences, not me (a geeky book nerd).

Needless to say, I learned a lot, about fashion, art, working out, and Sondheim.

I think snapshots of our queer future can be found on our current social media platforms.

I envision all us becoming more entrenched in our echo chambers of personal interest.

 Queer poets talking to other queer poet about poetics, gay Republicans talking to each other about fiscal conservatism, queer art school kids talking to other art schools kids about visual aesthetics,

Bears talking with other Bears about all the happenings at Bear Week in Provincetown. 

Big tent parties will become a thing of the past.

The dynamic nature of language reflects the shifting societal, cultural, and social meanings of sexuality and gender in American society. A few decades ago, when I started conducting this research, men often were referred to as “homosexuals,” a term now considered offensive by many. “Gay” often was used as a global term representing sexual minorities—men and women alike. Bisexuals were at times referred to as “fence-sitters,” a derogatory term suggesting unresolved sexual identity. “Transgendered” and “transsexual” were common terms; language now has shifted toward gender identity and expression, with trans, transgender, and gender non-conforming emerging as umbrella terms.

Moreover, there are cultural differences in terminology. Same-gender loving is sometimes used by African Americans, down-low by some African American men, and two-spirit by some Native Americans. Increasingly, adults ages 50 and older identify as queer, genderqueer, or other self-identified terms, which accounted for more than 14 percent in our most recent survey. (See sidebar, below, for a brief glossary of terms.)

This article shares personal reflections on the future of LGBT aging, informed by findings from two landmark studies I have had the honor to lead in collaboration with seventeen community partners 

Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, Sexuality and Gender Study (2009 to present),

the first federally funded longitudinal study to investigate trajectories over time of aging, health, and quality of life in LGBT midlife and older adults.

This project encompasses Caring and Aging with Pride, the first national study of LGBT aging, health, and well-being.

An equity framework, incorporating structural exclusion, resilience, and resistance to inequities across the life course,

is the foundation underlying the practice, education, and research models that have developed from these projects (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2014a).

I define equity as the pursuit of fairness and opportunity for all to reach their full potential, with the goal to better serve LGBT older adults, their kin, and their communities. Based on this framework,

I outline a blueprint for action in services, policies, and research to address the growing needs of LGBT older adults now and for generations to come.

  • Lesbian: A woman who is physically and/or emotionally attracted to other women.

  • LGBT: An abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Sometimes more letters are added such as “Q” (LGBTQ) to include queer-identified or questioning individuals, or “TS” for two-spirit. LGBT+ is used, with “+” indicating the larger LGBT community beyond lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and often also includes allies.

  • MSM/WSW: Abbreviations for “men who have sex with men” and “women who have sex with women.” This term distinguishes sexual behavior from sexual identity.

  • Queer: An umbrella term used to describe individuals whose gender or sexual orientation or identity are fluid or do not fit into a certain label or category. Queer, like many other terms used, may be considered derogatory by some older LGBT adults, although its use is increasing.

  • Same-gender loving: A person who is attracted to the same sex or gender. More frequently used in communities of color, particularly African American and black communities.

  • Sex: A person’s biological and anatomical identity, or assigned sex at birth.

  • Sexual identity: How one identifies one’s sexuality regardless of sexual behavior or romantic relationship (e.g., one may identify as straight or heterosexual but have sex with someone of the same sex).

  • Sexual orientation: Encompasses sexual identity, sexual behavior, attraction and/or romantic relationships.

Despite the generations’ histories of marginalization, we consistently find most LGBT adults of the Invisible, Silent, and Pride generations are aging well and experiencing good health. Equally important, our studies have illuminated pockets of serious risk in these communities, with generational differences in risks and resources (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2015).

For example, we find that while LGBT adults from the Invisible and Silent generations report higher degrees of internalized stigma and identity concealment, they are individually less likely to have experienced discrimination and victimization, suggesting identity concealment may be protective in hostile environments. Conversely, for those of the Pride Generation, internalized stigma and identity concealment are lower, but discrimination and victimization are higher, as are loneliness and social isolation. Informed by these differences, we are developing and evaluating the first cross-generational, community-engaged, evidenced-based solutions to the challenges facing LGBT older adults.

Equity over the life course

Early in our work, we found the prevailing minority stress models (Meyer, 2003; Hatzenbuehler et al., 2009) were insufficient to explain how the majority of LGBT older adults attain good health in the face of adversity.

In our research we have framed LGBT aging within an equity approach, highlighting both the historical and contemporary forces at play over the life course.

The Health Equity Promotion Model (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2014b) expands upon earlier conceptualizations by considering how historical and social contexts, cultural meaning,

and structural location influence the intersectionality of social positions and the interplay between age

, sexuality, gender, and culture. It is important to recognize that LGBT older adults share risk and protective factors with older adults

in the general population, while they also experience unique strengths and challenges due to the marginalization of their sexual and gender identities.

The model incorporates both commonalities and differences by age, sex, sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, culture,

and socioeconomic status that span individual, community, and societal levels.

Service innovations

In developing services to address the unique needs of LGBT older adults and their kin, it is critical to recognize and build upon the strengths in these communities.

The LGBT community has a rich history of collective action, advocating and developing services for its most vulnerable and disenfranchised members,

as was evident during the AIDS pandemic. Yet as LGBT older adults age and experience increasing needs,

many are not accessing services and healthcare because of traumatic histories and an acute fear of discrimination and victimization.

In addition, many have a fierce sense of independence cultivated through surviving in a hostile environment,

which is an incredible strength, but may also result in a reluctance to seek help when needed.

Yet, some LGBT older adults have distinct healthcare needs. With the growing number of people living with HIV and concurrently entering old age,

there is a heightened need for HIV support programs for LGBT older adults. Furthermore,

LGBT older adults, compared to heterosexuals of similar age, are more likely to report nine out of twelve chronic health conditions (Fredriksen-Goldsen and Kim,

in press), so specialized services are needed.