Prime As A Dime

The Prime Timers. Photo by Ray Grant
The Prime Timers. Photo by Ray Grant

Prime Timers Minneapolis-St. Paul offers events and activities for gay and bisexual men to get together.

Isolation and loneliness are persistent among seniors, particularly LGBTQ+ seniors. Especially due to social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, seniors have been facing additional struggles regarding socialization.

“Seniors, particularly gay and bisexual seniors, can be disproportionately impacted by loneliness and isolation,” says Glenn Bottomly, President of Prime Timers Minneapolis-St. Paul, an organization that provides social, educational and cultural activities for gay and bisexual men who are 21 years and older. “Prime Timers is a way to combat those problems and connect with others in the same generation, along with members from other generations, to build friendships, make life-affirming relationships with others, get out of the house, and continue to enhance your life no matter what age you are.”

More than 20 years ago, in August 1999, Prime Timers had its very first meeting, and some of the current members were even part of the founding group who originally started the chapter.

“I originally read an article about a social group for mature gay and bisexual men,” says Bottomly. “After researching more, I learned that Prime Timers was formed in 1987 by a retired professor, Woody Baldwin, who felt a wide gap existed in the LGBT community, which caters almost exclusively to youth. Woody started the very first chapter in Boston, Massachusetts, by placing ads in local newspapers and calling upon numerous friends to come to the very first meeting. Woody expected only a small handful of men to attend but was surprised when more than 40 gay and bisexual men showed up. Prime Timers chapters then started forming all across the country.”

Bottomly says that they plan a variety of activities each month for members, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, dominoes events, potlucks, boat cruises, movie nights and much more. 

“We have a vibrant book club that has reviewed and discussed a diverse selection a gay and bisexual literature almost since the inception of our chapter more than 22 years ago,” he says. “We have a longstanding ‘Wilde Café Discussion Group’ that meets at the Wilde Café each month to discuss interesting current events, political developments, community development and issues particularly pertinent to seniors like housing, insurance, healthcare, preventing isolation, estates and more.”

Prime Timers also offers a “History Boys” group, which focuses on visiting historical sites across Minnesota. Additionally, the group offers a “They, Them, and Us Events Group” for members who enjoy attending entertainment venues like live theater, movies, vocal and instrumental music events, as well as trips to bars or bingo halls.

“Most of our events are held in person,” he says, “however, since COVID-19 started in March 2020, our chapter pivoted quickly to offering virtual events. Today, we have moved to a mix of in-person and virtual events to give our members the maximum opportunity to connect with others in a safe and meaningful way to prevent isolation and enrich the lives of themselves and others. Because monthly events are so diverse, you’ll see a wide variety of members attending each one. It always seems that you see familiar faces at each event along with new friends you haven’t met yet.”

Bottomly adds: “Prime Timers has introduced me to so many new friends over the years. I’ve met some amazing individuals who all have enriched my life and also supported me personally due the passing of my former partner and dear friends and loved ones. Prime Timers is a welcoming group of men who are intelligent, funny, interesting, and who all care for others in a supportive way, particularly for our older members who may feel that the LGBT community doesn’t cater to their needs anymore. Prime Timers has connected me to a broad and diverse community of like-minded individuals locally, nationally, and even internationally.”

Prime Timers welcomes any gay or bisexual man over 21 years of age to join. 

“We currently have members ranging in age from their 30s all the way up to their 80s,” Bottomly says. 

Prospective members complete a brief membership application form and mail it in along with payment for one year of annual dues. The membership dues that are collected help to subsidize costs of special events for members and offset expenses to keep the chapter running. 

“Normally our annual membership dues are $35/single and $50/couples,” Bottomly says. “However, due to the pandemic we had to reduce the number of in-person activities we could offer each month, so we’ve temporarily reduced our annual membership dues to $10/single and $15/couples.”

For more information about Prime Timers Minneapolis-St. Paul, visit https://chapters.theprimetimersww.com/minneapolisstpaul/

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