Due to popular demand, I have expanded the remit of this blog series to include people who are nearly 50. There are even more of us out there!
As before, the questions in bold come from me. Everything else is written by the interviewees themselves.
My name is Mary Rowson, I am nearly 49 (just about 50!) and live in Australia with my husband and grown-up daughter. I was born and raised in Nelson, New Zealand - a very beautiful part of the world. I am a social worker by trade and also a writer and musician (I play the violin).
How did you come to think of yourself as bisexual?
I recognised attraction to more than one gender as a young adolescent (1970s) but didn’t fully understand it until my late 30s/40s. I thought I was mistaken or ‘confused’. The AIDS epidemic was hitting NZ at the time I was recognising my bisexual feelings. Unfortunately bisexual men were getting a hammering from the press then for being ‘the evil spreaders of disease’. The negative stereotypes really affected me, and I pushed all those feelings down. Of course, they exploded 25 years later (as feelings tend to do when pushed down!).
What does being bisexual mean to you?
Being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender to me.
Has this changed over the years, and if so how?
Yes, things have changes significantly for me. I have tried polyamory (loved the person but decided it wasn’t for me). I have become increasingly interested in writing short stories with bi characters in them and have also (like Harrie) written a novel with bisexual main characters.I am also involved with the bisexual alliance in Melbourne and think it is crucial to keep pushing bi visibility. I think older bi visibility is particularly an issue, so I like what you are doing here!
What do other people in your life know about your bisexuality and how do they react?
My friends and family have been pretty ok with it apart from a few! Presenting as confident about my sexuality certainly helps to reinforce positive reactions back from people.
Looking back over your life so far, is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I had come out earlier but actually I don’t think it would have worked out, so no, I don’t have regrets.
What about your hopes or fears for the future regarding bisexuality?
My hopes are that bisexuality will be recognised as real and bisexual people will be able to be themselves –in all their wonderful diversity.
Any words of wisdom for younger bi people – or older ones?
Be yourselves. You DO exist and you are absolutely OK.
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 (or thereabouts) who would like to contribute their “email interviews”, as Mary has done here. For more about what to do, look at this post.