I have done many things in my life to be proud of: I joined the Navy at 17, got elected to the job of Lakeville Town Treasurer & Collector, and I was one of the first men to join the Herb Society of New England. It took me three years to join, I never gave up. But one of the proudest moments was when I became a founder of the Boston Prime Timers.
In August 1987, I saw a small ad in the Bay Windows, advertising there would be a meet up group for older gay men. You see, back then, gay men were the pits of society. Older gay men, were the pits of the pits. Because of this organization, we moved from the back burner to the front burner.
When you’re 40, you think 80 is old. But when you are 80, it is old. Who better than us to know what prejudice is all about? From one side, we’re hit with scorn from the heterosexual world, on the other side we get the prejudice of young gays against older gays.
On August 15, 1987, my partner, Bill Belliveau, drove us into Boston, to attend this meeting. On one of the hottest days in August, we walked up to the second floor of a building with no air conditioning. Boy, was it ever hot. 42 men from all over New England showed up that day.
The guy who had this brilliant idea was Professor Woody Baldwin. Woody was a professor at UCLA and Simmons College. He also was a Unitarian Universalist. Woody and his partner Shaun chaired our meeting. We chose the name, “Boston Prime Timers,” after a few names were tossed about. We all realized we really hit on something great; so many stories were shared, some very sad. We set up a date for our next meeting in September. The energy was high, and we came out of that building with some lifelong friends.
Prime Timers became a brotherhood of mature gay and bisexual men and their friends who join together for educational support and social activities. Our diverse membership, some retired, some still working, are involved and focused on improving the image and quality of gay life through activities like volunteerism, politics, gay issues, arts, sports and entertainment.
Today, the Prime Timers Worldwide, has thousands of members in more than 70 chapters on three continents. Today, out of the 42 founders, we have 4 left, and I am proud to say, I am one of the 4. I am also a founder of the Rhode Island chapter along with my partner Frank Girard.