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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 24 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 34
Seattle Prime Timers celebrate 20 years
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Seattle Prime Timers celebrate 20 years

Group for mature Gay men is a warm and welcoming social organization

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle's chapter of Prime Timers (SPT), an organization for mature Gay men and their younger admirers, is celebrating its 20th anniversary next month. For two decades the organization has served not just as a social club, but also as a source of community and family for its members.

'SPT has been a warm and welcoming social organization since the outset - a kind of refuge for Gay men,' wrote Gregry Loomis, secretary and chairman of SPT, in his most recent monthly chairman's address.

Prime Timers offers an opportunity for older Gay men to meet each other in social settings other than bars. Loomis said that while hookups might happen as a result, Prime Timers is really more of a social club.

'It's not necessarily a sex club,' Loomis told SGN. 'For many men our age we've kind of been there, done that.'

CHANGING WITH THE TIMES
Over it's 20-year history here in Seattle, some things have changed significantly within the organization, primarily because society itself has changed.

When SPT was first conceived, it wasn't uncommon for members to be closeted, married, or divorced.

'I remember in the past, some members wouldn't want to give their birth date or street address, or have their picture taken at events,' Loomis told SGN.

Loomis also notes that for these kinds of members, back then, the opportunity to hook up was much more present in the minds of people looking into joining the organization. But nowadays, because society at large has become more accepting of the LGBT community and people are coming out earlier in their lives than they were 20 years ago, that need has already been met for many people.

Still, Loomis said, sometimes people join the club expecting casual hookups and are disappointed when they realize it's not really what the club is for.

And while a larger percentage of SPT members are out than in the past, Loomis said that at least a third of the current members came out later in life, after marrying and having kids.

What hasn't changed at all, though, is that those men can feel at home in Prime Timers.

FRIENDS BECOME FAMILY
Over the years SPT has lost members for various reasons. When a member passes away, it's usually a pretty somber moment for the tightly knit group.

'Friends become your family when you're older, especially if you're Gay, because most of us don't have children,' said Loomis. 'When members go to the hospital, often other members will go and visit them.'

One of SPT's signature events is their monthly 'Java Talk,' which is exactly what it sounds like - a monthly event where members simply get together over coffee to chat about whatever is on their minds.

'You don't find that everywhere - especially in Gay groups, especially in Gay bars,' Loomis told SGN. 'We've been blessed with some very mature men who have good hearts.'

Java Talk started just after the release of the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain.

'Many of us were moved and wanted to talk about [the film],' said Loomis. 'It was such a success that we decided to keep doing it.'

SPT will celebrate its 20th anniversary on September 16 at its monthly potluck. The organization currently has about 50 members, the oldest of whom is 86. Anyone over 18 is welcome, although most members are over 40. For more information on SPT, visit www.seattleprimetimers.org.

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