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Mourning Lost Community And Finding New Connections


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Like everyone, I'm getting older. 62 now! And I look around me in a bewildered manner and wonder WTF happened to the community (lesbian) that I once had here. Now it was a small one. But still large enough to hold a decent dinner party. (And yeah, I know this sounds pathetically small to those of who live in a larger city, as I once did. But small rural town, okay?) And we were a diverse bunch in terms of race, socio-economic sphere, and age. But-poof! The OWLS here stick to their own little club. They are coupled, White, comparatively well off, and decidedly exclusive. Was it a C-19 change? Did I somehow offend EVERYONE? I admit to this being a possibility, albeit a purely unintentional one. Still, I mourn that brief sense we had for a space of time here that we could breathe together. There was excitement even. We had everyone from teenagers through to the metaphorical matriarchs (lesbian royalty, if you would), different shades of color in the room with different cultural backgrounds, and PLANS: A new bar. A community platform to promote connection. A book club or two. Regular parties. 

That disappeared. Stratification is now the norm , if you move in the over 40 group.  I don't fit the pre-approved criteria-I've got the right skin color, but that's it. In all other ways, I'm too other. Most of my friends in the LGBTQ+ group here skew much younger, more diverse, and mostly in the arts. And struggling in ways that the OWLS do not have to deal with any longer, due to their wealth and position. We have to face the homophobia that exists  casually in the prevalent milieu and also targeted specific acts. We are visible and not covered by respectable veneers. We connect in a different more individual manner, b/c we are more at risk for threats and even violence. We're not hiding but also not gathering in a public group under a rainbow flag. That would just encourage some deranged idiot to attempt to wipe us out en masse, as small in number as we are. 

This post is just a reflective one on the changes I've seen in my small rural locale. If anyone has any comments or observations to make, these are welcome! I'm especially interested to know how your community has fared. If you had one at all. If you didn't or don't currently, do you miss the experience? 

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Thank you. 

Perhaps had I the accoutrements of respectability, I might do better here. On second though, nah. I still wouldn't. I'd be a weirdo even then. A GAY weirdo. (Around here, "gay" is the umbrella term for anyone who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Often hurled as an insult.) 


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