Douglas Haldeman, an internationally renowned expert on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) issues. I am lucky to be a veteran of 40+ years of living as an out gay man and a psychologist in the LGBT community.
He has a full time independent practice in Seattle, Washington which encompasses the LGBT communities and their relationship to mainstream American culture. Haldeman has contributed to the American Psychological Association (APA)'s work on LGBT issues, including the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients. Living in the San Francisco area in the Seventies, I enjoyed the Disco Revolution; I marched with Harvey Milk; I sat bedside during the Eighties and Nineties at the deaths of countless patients and friends; and I did my part to rebuild our community in the '00s, and have thankfully lived to tell the tale.
As a psychologist who has worked with LGBT people from all generational cohorts for thirty years, I have some ideas that may help you in your search: 1. Go to bars; if you don’t like them, or don’t enjoy alcohol-saturated environments, join community groups; volunteer for LGBT causes. Regardless of your age or ability status, everyone can find something active that they like to do.
Know what you want, and focus accordingly: These days, because of the Internet, it is much easier to connect with like-minded people in terms of dating. If you live in a rural area where these options are not available, use your computer to connect — or take a deep breath and try and start a club/interest group where you live. Focus on what is under your control, and leave the rest: Are there demons in your head, telling you that you’re too old/too fat/too washed-up to find a loving relationship? Be content with who you are and what you have, and it will be much easier feel good about yourself when you meet others — of any age. Be honest: You know by now that ours is a youth-obsessed community, and it is easy for older people to feel invisible or marginalized.
Whatever the reason, by this stage in life, you know where to find what you need: online hookup sites (Scruff, Grindr, Manhunt, Adam4Adam, Craiglist) or the more traditional in-person, impersonal venues.
Consider where you are in your life, and what you want: is it an LTR? Don’t do that to yourself; these thoughts must be confronted and replaced with positive thoughts, because they will not help you feel confident in your presentation to others. Don’t buy into that; if you are patient, and sure of yourself, you will meet your Prince or Princess.
But you can’t lie, especially on the Internet, where lying seems to be the of communicating.
Perhaps you have left or lost a partner, and are not up for the complexities of an LTR.
Or maybe you are simply too accustomed to the independence of single life.
If you are reading this, you may be an older gay, lesbian, trans or bisexual person — which in our community could be anyone over 40 — and looking for love.
Let me first say that if you are looking for a one-nighter, fair enough: many older queer folk are not interested in a long-term relationship (LTR), or even dating, for a number of reasons.