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|Atlanta’s Prime Timers offers outlet for gay retirees|
|by Matt Schafer|
|April 01, 2011 00:00|
Life doesn’t stop at 60 and the members of the Atlanta chapter of Prime Timers would argue it is just getting started.
As the Baby Boomers begin to retire, they include the largest amount of out gay senior citizens America has ever seen. The generation that helped pioneer the gay civil rights movement is now blazing a new trail through retirement, re-defining what it means to be gray and gay.
Prime Timers was founded in 1987 in after a retired professor in Boston noticed a need for a social outlet for older gay men. Since then the organization has gone world wide with 74 chapters across North America and Europe. The Atlanta chapter is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and claims over 80 members.
Charles Stevens, a board member for the Atlanta chapter, said the group is about fellowship and making friends away from the bright lights and late nights of bars.
“There is a group that just doesn’t enjoy doing the bars with the younger twinks. We’ve done daytime trips, we’ve done trips to Cartersville to the museum up there,” Stevens said. John Wiggins said he and his partner joined because it gives them an outlet to meet other retired gay men.
“It’s important things because a lot of men don’t like bars and the young scene and this gives us a chance to come together as seniors to come and talk with each other,” he said.
The group has organizers for theater outings, card games, concerts, gardening, hiking and travel.
Mark Carroll of Buckhead found the group in his late 50s and joined as a way to combat his depression after losing a loved one.
“I think at the focal point, or at least part of it, is isolated gay seniors and giving them a reason to get out of the house and be with people,” Carroll said. “I joined four years ago. I had a partner of 30 years who passed away five years ago and after a year of wallowing in depression I started joining groups, preferably gay men’s groups in the hopes of finding someone new if possible.”
The Prime Timers meet the first Saturday of every month at the Fulton County library on Ponce De Leon Ave. at 3 p.m. The meetings feature a speaker and are usually followed by drinks and refreshments.
Stevens said anyone who might be interested in joining is welcome.
“I think they’ve lowered the barrier to older men who have a younger lover. One of our youngest members is 26 and oldest is 89,” he said.
Top photo: Prime Timers offers social opportunities for ‘mature’ gay men. (Courtesy photo)
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