Friends and acquaintances can be good for your soul. Being active and social with them can keep your mind and body healthy, too. If you’re an older gay or bisexual adult male in the Kansas City area, consider looking into Prime Timers and its activities. Although the focus of the group is on older males, the minimum age for membership is 21.
Most gay and bisexual men alive today have experienced at least some discrimination from family, friends, work, religion or society in general. The older the man, the more likely he has had to deal with these forces for much of his life. Men, no matter what challenges you’ve had in the past, the guys at Prime Timers will welcome you to join them.
The Kansas City chapter of Prime Timers will turn 14 years old in October. Men who would later become charter members had traveled to a Prime Timers Labor Day event in Oklahoma City, and they returned with the idea to start a local chapter. They met at the former Lesbian and Gay Community Center and then later in members’ homes.
Several members of the current group have been married to women. Some are divorced; others are widowed. Some have children. One even has a gay son. When a divorce happens, the married friends often choose one spouse over the other. Oftentimes, when a gay man divorces a woman, she inherits the married friends. The experience can be very isolating for the gay ex-husband. Some members are of local provenance, whether from a small town or city. Others moved here later in life.
Each man in his own way came to terms with his sexual orientation and then found Prime Timers as a social outlet. Not every community has a proper clearinghouse for LGBTQ organizations, so Google was helpful to some. There’s a former minister, a newsman, a medical professional, retirees, a workaholic, cancer survivors and more. One member describes Prime Timers as “a pretty close-knit group without having cliques.” Whatever their background or current situation, the men of Prime Timers enjoy a certain uncomplicated, earnest camaraderie.
Retired professor Woody Baldwin founded Prime Timers in Boston in 1987 with the goal of engaging older gay and bisexual men socially. Since then, the organization has grown to more than 80 chapters in several countries and is known as Prime Timers WorldWide. Its website is primetimersww.com. Men can join as members of chapters that exist in the United States and Canada, or they can join as independent members if they live elsewhere. Baldwin passed away April 21 at the age of 96.
In addition to local chapter activities, travel and fellowship opportunities exist with other chapters or at events like the biennial convention. To keep members informed, Prime Timers publishes worldwide and chapter newsletters.
Prime Timers Kansas City president Bill Hodges considers three of the group’s regular events to be introductory – in other words, interested men may attend these three events without having to become members. Membership dues are only $20 per year, or $10 for July through December.
The three “get acquainted” events – two of them weekly and one monthly – are:
Thursday morning coffee – 10 a.m. in the back room at Westport Coffeehouse, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo.
Monday evening $5 sandwiches – 5 p.m. at Bistro 303, 303 Westport Rd., Kansas City, Mo.
Third Saturday potluck dinner – 5:30 p.m. at The Homes Clubhouse, 660 Manorcrest Dr., Kansas City, Kan.
Other activities for members include dining out, breakfast, movies, zoo, museums, art galleries, biking, bowling and Heartland Men’s Chorus concerts. Regional get-togethers, pride festivals and other outings fall into the mix. Recently, the Kansas City chapter has been cooperating with the St. Louis Prime Timers group to try to get a Columbia, Mo., chapter off the ground.
If you’re a gay or bisexual male over the age of 21 and you want more information about Prime Timers Kansas City, try one or more of the following and come to a “get acquainted” event:
Start the Music: Mature Pride Plans a Dance
Mature Pride is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a dance for its members and for the LGBT community ages 35 years
and over. Join the festivities at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at The Warehouse, 4901 Deramus Ave., Kansas City, Mo.
There will be no cover charge, and coolers are allowed. A live band and DJ will provide music. Food, soda and water may be
purchased at the concession stand. Please contact Larry Roland for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s how Roland describes the event:
“Imagine this night as a return to the music and frivolity of the 1970s and 1980s, but this time we will be celebrating with our spouses, partners and friends, without all of the bigotry and hatred that we experienced back when we were originally coming out. The music is our celebration that paved the way for today’s younger generation to expect the right to be able to come out and live as a community in an open and affirming life as productive members of our community.”