Friday, January 30, 2015

Elderly, Lonely and LGBTQ

Today's pics of are of handsome, hunky men in my favourite position: beefy thighs spread wide open and showing off an inviting bulge.  But they have nothing to do with the content of this post.

As a member of our Pride organizing committee, planning for our June Pride 2015 week is really starting to gear up.  This week, I've met with two very different LGBTQ groups in town.
 
GROUP #1:   I was invited to speak to some LGBTQ youth about our town's Pride activities with the goal of getting them involved as volunteers, future organizers and / or participants.

The young people, aged 15 - 20, were in a support group funded by the provincial government.  The group was set up to provide mutual support, information and a social outlet for LGBTQ youth, many of whom are on the fringes of society due to poverty, family dysfunction or race.

As well, this group gets involved in projects involving LGBTQ community service and in the end, agreed to volunteer at our Pride Film Night and assist in its planning as well.  What was most interesting was, out of the 15 youth present, three-quarters of them were First Nations (....aboriginal, Canadian-Indian) and four were transgender.

Part of the reason for this was probably because the group's leader was First Nations herself:  a respected elder in her aboriginal community and a lesbian who is also involved in LGBTQ activism in our wider community. 

But I couldn't help but think that the high participation rate of First Nations youth reflected their history.  Before the coming of the white men with their religious intolerance, First Nations cultures revered two-spirited people and held them in high esteem within their communities.

I think that LGBTQ people who are aboriginal are  much more readily accepted (and I hope celebrated) in aboriginal culture than in the more constipated white society.

I love hooking up with aboriginal guys for this reason: they're more relaxed, more accepting of their attraction to men, more "in the moment' than most white guys that I've been with.
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GROUP #2:   Last night, some of us Pride organizers attended a new 50+ LGBTQ social group being set up in town. 14 middle-aged and elderly gay men and lesbians showed up in equal numbers with at least one elderly trans-woman. All were single and most seemed to be childless as well.

We participated in ice-breaker activities, watched an interesting LGBTQ documentary, ate refreshments, mingled and had a very honest group discussion about the excitements and challenges of being LGBTQ in later life.  One common fear was that of ending up alone, of loneliness.

As that generation of LGBTQ folks move through their 70s, 80s and even into their 90s, who is going to look after them?  Most do not have children and some do not even have supportive families.  Some may have set up strong networks of LGBTQ friends for mutual support but others might just have to depend on social service agencies for help.  A scary prospect.

I got a little teary-eyed at the honesty and vulnerability of these folks.  I never once considered what it would be like to be 80, alone, not well off, in poor health and LGBTQ.  These folks grew up in a time when being queer was regarded as an abnormality to be feared, shunned or even punished.

Once again, I thought of how lucky I was to have the support of my three fabulous children.

In the end, the group agreed to meet every six weeks or so and started to plan future events such as game nights, movie nights, summer picnics and the like.  As well, the Pride organizers agreed to add a 50+ LGBTQ event to our Pride week, probably a dance.

Most of the older folks said that they do not feel comfortable mingling in a social setting (such as a bar) with exclusively young gays.  But all agreed that younger LGBTQ folks would certainly be welcome to attend our 50+events, as long as us old folks were in the majority!

As an aside, the moderator of the group was a 39 year old French Canadian dude who worked for the provincial agency which funded this elder LGBTQ initiative.  He was a total hottie, absolutely gorgeous, single, with piercing blue eyes and a fine body.

Hottie Moderator asked me if I was single, engaged me in conversation throughout the evening, hugged me preferentially as I left and asked if I needed a ride home. Too funny!



10 comments:

  1. The situation for LGBT elders became a big issue in Boston (where I was still in the middle of my career in theater and academia) twenty or more years ago. Boston hosted a variety of gay activist initiatives and at the time there were many proposals for retirement/assisted living complexes for gays who were not exactly being welcomed into conventional facilities, particularly if they were out. I think one was eventually built, but the need still exists.

    When I met Fritz, he was considering the idea of building a small LGBT retirement cottage community on some of his 36 acres, with the idea that residents could become involved with activities at his Conference and Educational Retreat Center, and use it as a gathering place of their own for social activities when it didn't have rental clients. An architect friend of ours jumped at the chance to bring the idea before his students and have them come up with a variety of approaches to the design of the facility. Alas, expense and zoning regulations brought the idea down.

    Oh -- do we think Hottie Moderator might be visiting a certain Love Nest anytime soon? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences! A Canadian report found that "LGBT seniors are twice as likely to age alone, four and a half times more likely to have no children to rely on and five times less likely to access senior services." Some major cities are developing LGBTQ seniors' facilities, but they are still few and far between.

      As to Hottie Moderator, he lives in a town over 1400 away, so I don't expect to become his regular bed-mate. It was so cool attracting the attention of such a hot, smoking' hot guy.

      He comes to town periodically, and we scheduled our next 50+ social in March specifically so he could attend. If he invited me out for a drink.... or into his hotel bed.... I certainly wouldn't say "no!

      Delete
  2. Pretty cool! I love that you are doing this!

    I am curious about one thing (and please do not think I am being critical, this could be a cultural thing), but I wonder about your use of the word "transgendered". Is that in common usage up there? In my work with ROSMY, I pretty much thought the "ed" was unnecessary. Our youth might be "transgender" or he might be a "trans guy" (so I get the "trans-woman"), but the "ed" is thought to imply "done with it" as in "it's over", a verb, rather than an adjective. As a relatively new person working with youth, I love to learn, thus the reason I ask.

    I intend to get involved with our Pride organization one of these days. I'm giving up "directorship" of my radio club's fundraiser, so perhaps that will give me the time I need.

    I worry a lot about "later in life". Not ever having had a long term relationship, living nearly 400 miles from any family, and being unwilling to burden friends, it is a real concern. We shall see. At least I have some time, God willing.

    I can't believe you have government funding for LGBTQ groups! For Pete's sake, we're still fighting the marriage battle and the damned Christofacist and Republicans are introducing bills to legalize discrimination against us! Let's you and me get married! We can take care of each other and have threesomes all the time! HAHAHAHAHA {{{BIG WINK}}}

    GREAT POST! SO POSITIVE!!!

    Peace <3
    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the correct term is "transgender." In my defense, I typed this post in about 15 minutes, early in the morning just before heading out the door and with the two doggies scratching at the door for their pee break.

      I am extremely proud of my country and all the LGBT supports which are available in my community. I know there are regional differences, but I would say that in my little world, it is cool to be gay.

      Delete
  3. Hello. Excellent post. Thank you.
    Just FYI: Being Transgender is not a verb, as you stated "Transgendered". The proper way to describe is: They are Transgender. Sorry to be picky but I know there are Trans people who are very sensitive about this.
    Best to you and thank you again for the work you do in support of an inclusive LGBTQ community.
    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the correction.

      I know that correct terminology is extremely important. In fact, both of these LGBTQ gatherings started with everyone in the room introducing themselves and stating which pronoun they wish to be known by.

      In several cases, I would never have known how to refer to the person in front of me just by their outward appearance.

      Delete
    2. That's exactly how we open every group session: Name, age, and pronoun preference. With our age groups, sometimes the name and pronoun preferences are fluid, and even they have trouble getting themselves right like the 12-year-old the other night who was presenting as female, but started to introduce herself with her male name, but quickly changed it. It's so important that we respect those preferences!
      Jay

      Delete
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