Age at interview: 72
Gil is 72 years old. He is a retired primary school teacher who lives in Sydney with his partner and many pets. Gil is Australian-born Chinese and a non-practicing Christian.
More about Gil
Gil believes that his legacy will be 50 years of being a primary school teacher. Gil has recently retired from teaching but he is still involved on a voluntary basis. He feels he is still coming to terms with retirement and realises he needs a social environment to thrive. Consequently, he has recently joined a local knitting club and he regularly goes on cruise ship holidays where he enjoys meeting new people.
Gil also spends a large amount of his time writing letters to newspaper editors about educational matters and human rights issues, such as equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. He also sings in a gay and lesbian choir and has done so for many years. This has been instrumental in helping Gil accept himself as a gay man and reconcile his sexuality with the traditionalism of his Chinese background and his former charismatic Christian beliefs. He considers the choir to be his family.
Gil was recently assessed for dementia at the urging of his family. He was confused about the test results that were not adequately explained to him which was distressing. Gil is aware that he has tendencies towards depression and he is currently learning things about himself that may explain the depression. This new self-awareness is quite uncomfortable for him but he intends to confront it so that he can maintain his relationships with others. Gil is also aware that he is dependent on sleeping tablets but as they are still working well for him with no side effects, he intends to continue taking them.
Gil has been with his partner for 39 years. He feels that they have set a positive example of gay relationships to their neighbours of which Gil is proud given that they live in a suburban area that has very few gay residents. Gil and his partner ran a very open home where the neighbours were welcome to use their pool. They also hosted their extended family Christmas. Now that the children are all grown, they do not see them as much and Gil is feeling the lack of extended family. He made a deliberate decision not to have children and he stands by this decision. Gil is grateful that their pets occupy their house and keep them busy. He has also recently met some children in his extended family that he is looking forward to seeing more often.
Gil has started to think about his funeral and the music he would like to have played; he is also considering writing his own eulogy. He is not afraid of dying. In the meantime, he intends to make good use of his sense of humour and keep people smiling with jokes and wearing funny ties. For Gil, every day is a celebration.