This guy’s gay uncle was told by doctors he wouldn’t make it past 30. He just celebrated his 60th birthday
Slade’s gay uncle was told he wouldn’t make it past 30.
This week, he celebrated his 60th birthday surrounded by loved ones and in a cabaret-themed celebration in New York this week.
“My uncle Jonathan is a fighter, he’s a survivor, he’s my hero,” Slade explained to PinkNews.
In a touching tweet that has tugged the hearts of thousands of users, Slade showed the world his uncle Jonathan up on the stage of his 60th birthday party.
My uncle’s doctor said point-blank, you won’t make it to 30. His generation was dying, and he was a statistic. He survived, he thrived, he made it to 60! Last night his friends and fam threw him a surprise cabaret night full of love and showtunes! Gay uncles, y’all, the best. pic.twitter.com/bxt643AkCB
— Slade (@Slade) November 5, 2019
Gay uncle told he wouldn’t make it past 30 ‘floored’ by his 60th birthday surprise.
With a 20-year age difference between them, Slade sees his uncle like a guiding light in his life.
Jonathan is “fiercely loyal to his friends and colleagues, he’s a devoted brother and uncle, he’s someone who cares deeply about gay history, where we came from and where we’re going.
“He’s warm and kind, and he’s always been there for his friends and family,” Slade described.
Jonathan spent his days making mixtape cassettes for his nephew, teaching him about the dizzying times of disco, and directing Slade’s school musical productions.
“He’s a musical theatre savant,” Slade, a Brooklyn-based executive managing editor for the political news outlet The Recount, explained.
So, after Slade’s mother led Jonathan through the doors of the Triad Theatre – an Upper West-Side Off-Broadway space – he was “floored” by what he saw.
Old friends and family members had all gathered on November 4 to celebrate Jonathan’s 60th birthday.
The one he was promised by medical professionals he’d never have.
“The whole cabaret event was a throwback to a queer space in Phoenix he co-owned called Pookie’s, where he directed drag shows and cabaret nights with his friends,” Slade said.
“So he sat there in a state of total shock for much of the night while his oldest friends sang show tunes from Wicked, Into the Woods, Fame, Funny Girl and The Magic Show.
“It was all produced by his talented friends Jonathan and Katie Ivie, Wade Walton, and my mother, Susan.
“At times he laughed, at times we teared up, and a couple times he even wept. It was like a reboot episode of This Is Your Life, a great gift for a lucky 60-year-old.”
‘While my uncle Jonathan survived, so many others were lost.’
Twitter was collectively in tears.
“Well, I’m crying at my desk,” said Daniel, who was one of many users who became bleary eyed by Slade’s tweet.
DMs rolled in, Slade said, as his followers wished his uncle a happy birthday and discussed their “relationships with their own gay uncles”.
In the waves of praise that flowed across Slade’s mentions, he said that one user’s response struck him.
“One of my followers replied that he was ‘wounded with joy over this,’ and I think that’s such a profound way to put it,” he reflected.
wounded with joy is an excellent way to put that
— Slade (@Slade) November 5, 2019
“For me, I simply tweeted it because there is some power in inherited gay generational legacies, and many people felt that.”
But Slade felt there is a “certain intrinsic cloud of sadness” to the celebration.
“Because while my uncle Jonathan survived, so many others were lost to the AIDS epidemic, and continue to lose their battles,” he stressed.
One user reflected on his own loss.
“I wish to God may gay uncle had survived to see how the man I’ve grown to become,” he said.
‘He’s obsessed, in a truly great way, with passing down his big gay legacy.’
With dreary doctor’s appointments behind him, Jonathan now spends his days with his nephew enjoying long car rides to family functions.
Across bumpy motorways, the pair rap about the past which Slade said is a time with his uncle he truly treasures.
“In a fun stroke of luck,” Slade said, “this year I turned 40, he turned 60 and Stonewall hit 50.” Perfect timing.
Some generations come out on Snapchat. Some generations couldn’t come out at all.
How time impacts the LGBT+ community is something that Slade’s uncle ensures he’s aware of.
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After all, Jonathan is living proof of that.
“He loves to pass down his earned knowledge and wisdom to younger people, and in turn I like to pass it along to those in the next generations,” Slade said.
“That’s how we gotta do it, it’s our duty.
“He’s obsessed, in a truly great way, with passing down his big gay legacy to me, so I can do the same one day.”