Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bi and over 50 6: Lou

Here’s the latest in the series of email “interviews” with bisexual people over 50. Thanks everyone for your interest! 

As before, the questions in bold have been written by me. The rest of the interview is written by the interviewees themselves.


I'm Lou Hoffman, 56, white, cis female. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and I'm legally married to Martin Quam. He’s also bi and 56, and he's native american and white, cis male. We live with our two kids, Arthur and Tristan, who just turned 22.  We're poly and I have a girlfriend who is also bi.

I currently work part time at Target, though I am semi-retired due to disabilities. I've had quite a few different jobs over my life time and also a lot of experiences outside the ordinary, as my philosophy is that if I haven't done something before that's a good enough reason to try it!

How did you come to think of yourself as bisexual?
When I was 12 or 13, I realized I was attracted to both men and women, I first heard the word "bisexual" when David Bowie came out as bi, and I was so relieved, not only that there was a word for it but also because if there was a word for it, that meant there were others like me. They wouldn't have made up a word for just Bowie and I! It's funny now, but I grew up Catholic and on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin: VERY isolated. i didn't come out to anyone until I was 24.

When I went to collage I finally met people who were out as lesbian and gay, though comments and jokes about bisexuality ensured I stayed closeted. But I was rumoured to be lesbian and was openly an ally. It was after college that I moved to Minneapolis, met people who were trans, realized that my attractions were all across all the spectrums, and then met my partner Martin. We were both closeted but soon came out to each other, and shortly after that joined a local bi support group. I've been coming out and being active since then, 32 years now that I've been out, and 43 years since I started identifying as bi. Some phase, huh?

What does being bisexual mean to you?
Up until that point (coming out and joining a bi group) I hadn't thought out a definition of bisexuality and what it means to me, but it was through talking with others that the idea solidified for me. I was part of the discussion back then on what we, as an organization, meant by the word, and for me it's an attraction to people who are similar to and different from my own gender identity.

What do other people in your life know about your bisexuality?
Since I am very active and out, I can't think of anyone who doesn't know I'm bi. Most people are accepting and supportive, but the more conservative family members just ignore it. This is not to say I haven't been harassed for my identity, but I've been lucky to live in one of the best cities to be bi in the United States. I have not experienced sexual or physical harassment or violence; unfortunately I do know a significant number of people who have. I maintain many connections to people in the rural communities and have a great deal of sympathy for those who are isolated. While it isn't perfect, thank technology for the Internet, so people can find others! That is the biggest, most significant change in the years I've been out and active!

I'm pretty satisfied with my life so far. I've had a lot of fun! I may not be rich in dollars but I'm rich is experiences, friends and family. It would be nice to win the lottery so I could financially support the non-profits I'm involved in, but hey, I contribute my time and energy, and as I retire I hope, health permitting, that I can continue to do so. Being part of the bi communities has enriched me beyond any measure.

What are your hopes or fears for the future?
I hope that in the future the bi communities get funded! Though I may be experienced at working on a shoestring, it's so much easier to work on stuff when your organization has funds! We really need to do outreach to the celebrities that are coming out as bi! And I absolutely support people identifying as whatever speaks their truth, but I hope we don't fragment into competing identities. I hope all non monosexual people work together!

Any words of wisdom for younger (or older) bi people?
I don't know if I have any advice to give to anyone. Keep open to new ideas and experiences, but don't be gullible. Be kind. Get involved. You can make a difference.

Would you like to help combat bi erasure and increase the visibility of bisexual people over 50? There are plenty of us out there, but far too many people don’t know that.

I am looking for other individuals over 50 who would like to contribute their “email interviews”, as Lou has done here. For more about what to do, look at this post


1 comment:

The BiCast said...