Meet Loren A. Olson, MD
Dr. Loren A. Olson was born in Nebraska in 1943, and as former Nebraska senator Bob Kerry said, “Do you think anyone in his right mind would choose to be gay in Nebraska?” He struggled to be straight but eventually lost that fight when he was forty years old, when he left his wife and kids to declare somewhat quietly at first that he is gay.
Dr. Olson counseled his friends for years before realizing that it was possible to make a living practicing psychiatry. Although he sought to maintain a low profile as a psychiatrist, his colleagues made him a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance for Mental Illness named him an Exemplary Psychiatrist, and he inexplicably received awards for his writing.
After developing bags under his eyes and skin that resembled bread mold, as well as blowing out his knee having sex, he began to explore the idea that aging might have some advantages denied him in his youth. He then chose to write more about being gay and gray to avoid having to clean house and take out the garbage.
Dr. Olson and his partner of thirty years raised Belted Galloway cattle on their farm in Iowa. To the consternation of neighboring farmers who thought their cattle should be in a zoo rather than on a farm in Iowa, they also bought a Russian tractor. They raised the cattle on grass rather than feeding them the corn that is overproduced on neighboring farms with John Deere tractors and chemical fertilizers. To their neighbors’ surprise, these two gay men from the city sold their cattle throughout the United States, but as Dr. Olson’s stepfather said, “The secret to being a successful farmer is to have a medical practice on the side.”
Dr. Olson’s former wife, Lynn, and his husband, Doug, have been known to cook Thanksgiving dinner together. Their grandkids just shrug their shoulders and smile when asked why they have two grandmothers and three grandfathers. Dr. Olson also speaks about his life experiences to any group that promises to laugh at his jokes.
Until recently moving to Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Olson and Doug lived in a 1900-era farmhouse that they moved fifteen miles to their farm. After living in the barn for two years, they moved into the house that they’d completely renovated—which is why, at age seventy-three, Dr. Olson still works as a psychiatrist.