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Columns by Sherrie Nist
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By Sherrie Nist
      Nothing riles up an e-mail list of lesbians more than an
age-specific singles event. Recently, an 'Under 50 Singles
Dinner' was announced, and many outraged 50 and older
women swung into action. Age discrimination, they cried.  How
can we be excluded from a lesbian event, they asked, when we
have suffered from exclusion just for being a lesbian?
     Give me a break. I don't get what the big deal is. Yes, I know
that people often date outside their age group. For the couples
I know of, it never lasted very long. It's simply true that couples
not too far apart in age have a better shot at longevity. And if
you are in a large age gap relationship, and have been for
quite some time, and it's working great, good for you .There's
always exceptions.
      Why the anger? I can understand if someone just over the
age limit is annoyed, but for god's sake, get over it. It's not
about you. It's about the organizer, who can organize any kind
of group she wants. It's not age discrimination. There are
plenty of special interest groups that exclude others outside of
the group's parameters. And if you really must go to the event,
go and crash it. You're probably not going to be carded.
      As a Lesbian Social Network special event, once a year I
run a speed dating night. All ages are welcome. I get lots of
e-mails before the event, asking me if I know what the
probable age range of participants will be. I don't, and one of
the common comments I often hear afterwards, is that there
wasn't enough women in their age group. Sometimes it skews
young, sometimes older. It's a crap shoot. But I encourage
participants to keep an open mind, and also think of it as a
good opportunity to make new friends.
      My favorite part of this discussion is that, as a result of
feeling discriminated against, a group of over 50's women are
organizing their own event, a dinner for the over 50 crowd.
That's a good thing. But what I find ironic about it, is that they
didn't organize an all ages dinner, they organized an age
group-specific dinner, so aren't they now the ones excluding
an entire age bracket?
      Having a singles night for a particular group is not age
discrimination. Not being hired for a job because of your age is
discrimination. Every event does not have to be aimed at the
entire community. Some types of events are great for that
purpose, and some events are more specifically focused.
There's nothing wrong with that.  If nobody is throwing the type
of event you'd like to go to, do it yourself.
      And, if you're wondering how old I am, I'm 63.
Women's Community Connection
Love and Pride