The boomers are everywhere, and many of us are lesbians. We know what we want and what we like, and we want it to be a great fit for how we live our lives.
But are you getting up and going out to events that cater to boomer lesbians? Do you know about them?
In my travels this summer, doing workshops from New York City to Los Angeles, I met boomer lesbian after boomer lesbian who not only wants to find a great relationship but is looking for events and activities that are meaningful to lesbians in their 40s, 50s and older.
Of course, it helps to find other lesbian baby boomers first, and therein lies the rub. Lesbians over 40 often have little interest in events that target younger lesbians (e.g., bar events and pool parties). That means being a lesbian over 40 can be a very lonely gig; there just are not many places to go to meet other wiser women.
However, now that the baby boomers make up nearly half the nation's population, there's a growing need for lesbian events targeting this crowd.
So what is going on for lesbian boomers? Are you keeping up? Here's a list to get you started:
1) Let's start with a group that is fighting ageism and isn't afraid to say that all its members are over 60! Old Lesbians Organizing for Change just had a conference in Oakland, California, and is celebrating 25 years of working to confront ageism. It provides a place for lesbians age 60 and over to meet, play and work together to fight ageism.
2) BOLDFest in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been happening for 10 years. This conference has a tradition of paddling dragon boats and also providing lesbian-focused education and, of course, music for the women attending and focuses on women 45 and older.
3) There's Women's Week in Provincetown, Massacusetts, every October starting on Columbus Day. It started in 1984 as the many lesbian innkeepers sought a way to get more women back to Ptown in the fall. It's been an extremely vibrant event with the most options for lesbian entertainment, inspiration and play that I've seen.
4) And, of course, there's Olivia Travel. Let's not forget this icon of lesbian fun that caters to boomer lesbians from all over the world with amazing cruises that include guest entertainers and movers and shakers from the lesbian world.
5) Let's add in this West Coast event that's happening in mid-September, Women's Weekend 2.0, on the Russian River in Northern California. It is one of the oldest festivals for women in the country and is being reinvented this year.
During my recent trek across the country with the Gay Girl Love Tour, I had the chance to sit down with a boomer lesbian who, at 55, is reinventing a festival she started when she was 27. Carmen McKay started her company, She She, in 2007. It offers events and travel exclusively for lesbians over 40, particularly single lesbians over 40.
Carmen calls lesbians over 40 "unicorns" because they are so hard to find but so much fun when you do find them. This year She She is producing Women's Weekend 2.0, which has been happening in the Russian River Valley of California for 28 years.
Women's Weekend was one of the premier lesbian music events in the country, attracting over 6,000 women twice a year. Carmen handed it over to a group of community organizers in the 90s, and over the years attendance has waned, as has become common with lesbian festivals.
This year Carmen has stepped up to revive Women's Weekend at Russian River and restore it as a "not-to-be-missed event" for lesbians, in particular boomer lesbians, perhaps in part because Carmen is a boomer too!
What's special about this year's Women's Weekend at Russian River? Well, here are my thoughts as a boomer lesbian who isn't looking to hang out at a 20-something lesbian party. Now, I love the 20-somethings, but I don't party like I'm 20 anymore.
In the years between being 20-something and 50-something, what lesbians want changes. Not only do we want stable and mature relationships, but we want events that cater to our lifestyles.
We love festivals, but sleeping on the ground or in a dormitory isn't for boomers. We want great food. Beautiful locations. Cozy beds. Hot showers. I'm planning on finding all these sweet travel amenities at Russian River in September.
I attended my first lesbian music festival in the fall of 2013. It wasn't at all what I expected, and it left me feeling that clearly this was not the kind of event I want to attend ever again. There were women working hard to make the experience fun, but I guess I had very unrealistic expectations. I didn't expect to spend a weekend in a rundown campground eating really bad food and listening to women tell me about the good old days and how bad things had gotten at the festival. Ugh!
Carmen's experience, enthusiasm and drive to create high-quality events has gotten me to commit to show up to Women's Weekend 2.0 with bells on my toes. She's promised to prove that my first lesbian music festival experience isn't how it's done, and she's raising the bar.
I'm excited and looking forward to something truly special. Attendance is expected to be upwards of 1,800 women, and I hear the Russian River area is beautiful this time of year. So it's definitely being added to the next round of the Gay Girl Love Tour.
OK, boomer lesbians, are you ready to take over? I'll meet you there!
You can learn more about The Gay Girl Love Tour and Mary G. Malia at gaygirldatingcoach.com.