“Late Bloomer Baby Boomer” uses humor to create a bridge of camaraderie between generations

Book cover has a red background and black letters for the title Late Bloomer Baby Boomer by Steve Milliken
Late Bloomer Baby Boomer by Steve Milliken (2022)

In a time when the far right looks to conquer and divide minority groups, it is important that the queer community (and all other marginalized communities) do all we can to stay united amidst the culture war the majority of Republicans are waging against us. One way that we can do this is to create a space in which everyone, regardless of their background, can access. Far too often, people who are growing in their years find themselves isolated, even in a time when record numbers of LGBTQ people come out of the closet.

Late Bloomer Baby Boomer comes from the experience of a gay man from a Catholic background in Southern California. Steve Milliken, of Brown Derby, modeling, acting, and teaching experience, provides a variety of essays from various stages in life. All leaning to the comedic edge, they are not all about the gay male experience but are good for a laugh all the same.

Learning a good sense of humor at an early age, throughout his life, Milliken knew how to command an audience — be it from pretending to be the DMV on the phone in the 70s to unleashing a flatus machine of 1001 Nights’ Abu Hassan quality at the bank during the height of COVID.

Though this collection is as funny as it is, it describes a coming-of-age experience that many queer people experience. While education around LGBTQ topics and sex in general has vastly improved in the past decade, many people may have to experience a coming of age that is different from their heterosexual and/or cisgender neighbors.

As mentioned before, Milliken came from a Catholic upbringing. Obviously, as the queer community is vast, not everyone has the same explicit background as each other. But for those in the United States, our culture shares a puritanical view of sex, no matter how much it may be shoved in our faces in media and pop culture.

As a result, even our straight counterparts may be apprehensive around sex. For us, we may even have a later sexual awakening due to this. This is not even mentioning the topic of gender, which ruffles many right-wing feathers. This is a topic that Milliken goes over in one chapter, with a very nuanced look back on his experiences bending the binary as a child.

For those of us who struggle with self-perception, we may opt to attack each other as a result of our superficial differences, be it out of spite or ignorance. One of the most important themes that can be taken from this collection is that we are better together, and it highlights our similarities despite our other differences.

At the end of the day, all of us are under increasing threats of violence. The most vulnerable groups are the first targeted at the moment, but those who wish them harm are only biding their time before they turn their attention to the LGBTQ community as a whole. This book reminds us with extremely funny anecdotes and essays that we will survive together and the best remedy for the stress of living with a marginalized identity truly is laughter. 

Late Bloomer Baby Boomer: A Collection of Humorous Essays About Being Gay Back in the Day and Finally Finding My Way by Steve Milliken ISBN 9798367529920