“Courage to cobble something new”: Women's queer and creative narratives of bisexuality and ageing

Jones, Rebecca L.; Jen, Sarah and Reiter, Bea (2023). “Courage to cobble something new”: Women's queer and creative narratives of bisexuality and ageing. Journal of Aging Studies, 65, article no. 101133.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2023.101133


Critical gerontologists have called for more diverse and inclusive visions of a good old age, and especially for imaginings that do not depend on health, wealth and heterosexuality. They have suggested that LGBTQ people, alongside other marginalized groups, may have particular contributions to make to the project of reimagining ageing. In this paper, we bring together this work with Jose Muñoz's concept of ‘cruising utopia’ to examine possibilities for imagining a more utopian, queer life course. We present findings from a narrative analysis of Bi Women Quarterly, a grassroots online bi community newsletter with an international readership, analyzing three issues published between 2014 and 2019 that focused on the intersection of ageing and bisexuality. We found several ways in which the authors told counter-narratives that queered normative visions of successful ageing. They queered norms around the stability and reification of sexual and gender identities. They challenged current forms of LGBTQ activism. They embraced and celebrated ageing, through such activities as croning ceremonies, and directly addressed and contemplated death. Finally, they queered the narrative form, by giving accounts of personal experience that were dreamlike, poetic or inconclusive. We conclude that counter-normative spaces, such as activist newsletters, offer valuable resources to progress the wider project of reimagining successful ageing more inclusively.

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