I am a (non-binary) woman of a certain age. In fact, I have no problem telling anyone what my age is. I am 61. I am working with others to build Bisexual community where I live. I enjoy the energy from all the folks in our organization. However, I miss having more Bisexuals close to my age to commune with. I enjoy the young people, don’t get me wrong. We have a great deal in common because we are non-monosexuals. It just would feel good to have the shortcuts you can have with folks closer to your age and experience level. It would be great to have a larger cohort of Bi folks who remembered the activism and challenges of prior decades. Who would have my back when I explain where our roots are and what work has been done before. Who would be among those who could say we have been HERE and QUEER for a long, long time.
I think one of the reasons it is hard to connect with other Bi folks who are closer to my age is that we are so defined by our partners. Over time I do think our ‘friend’ groups can sort of fall into more Gay folks or more Straight folks. I know that happened to me once my kids were born as I did have a lot in common with parents…most of whom were, or appeared to be, straight. Another reason being so few Bisexuals come out it is hard to know we’re here. While I have gone to various events for older LGBT folks the majority of those in attendance are gay men or Lesbians. I have no issues with that but we all know biphobia is fairly common among the Gs and Ls and I don’t always feel as though I fit in. I want to make clear that I cherish all members of our LGBT community but I don’t always feel as cherished.
Often by the time folks are closer to my age they have gotten to a comfort level with where they are and who their friends are. I have many friends who are gay men and Lesbians but precious few who are Bi. There are many Bi men and women in similar gender relationships who leave a part of themselves in the closet to fit in. This is not an uncommon scenario. There are men and women like this in my own community. I know this fact but it is hardly my place to say…hey y’all, join me out here in the Bi-verse….be everything you are. I know, anecdotally, that sometimes the gay or lesbian partner would prefer their Bi partner not be radically visible. Why, you ask, Biphobia, I say… I realize these are broad strokes but I have had that experience in the past so I am speaking from what I have lived. All of these factors combine to result in fewer older Bi people being out and seeking out Bi friends in their own age group.
I think it is definitely a missed opportunity. I think we would feel so valued and visible if we were among those who have weathered the storms but have stayed strong and certain in our Bi identities. I think we have so much to offer each other and so much to share with younger generations of Bi+ individuals.
I wrote to our local LGBT center today. A center which has zero Bi programming and suggested a monthly Bi+ discussion group. Baby steps, right? And, if this idea comes to fruition I will try to make the argument we could/should encourage an inter-generational emphasis for the group. I’ll be there and I hope my fellow Bi-elders will join me.