It has been well-proven that social isolation is a risk factor for a wide variety of physical and mental health conditions, and elders who do not leave their homes for any reason are at most risk.
To counteract this threat, SAGE (New York) has begun to sponsor a telephone support group and friendship circle for homebound LGBT older adults anywhere in the country, facilitated by a social worker. To get more information, including dates and times, and to sign up, contact Preston Wholley at 212-741-2247 or pwholley [at] sageusa [dot] org
Gay Marriage? That’s so 1960s….
Same-sex couples have been getting married for decades. The law may not have considered their marriages legitimate, but the couples that married certainly did. Ben Klassen, a young, queer research assistant studying same-sex marriage and union blessings before 1980 under the supervision of a professor at Simon Fraser University, is seeking interviewees.
“If you ever heard of or participated in such an event, or if you considered yourself married to your same-sex partner but did not have a ceremony, I would very much like to hear from you. I am also interested to hear from trans folks who, at the time, thought of their marriage as a ‘same-sex’ marriage. Finally, if you are lesbian, gay or trans and objected to same-sex marriages in the pre-1980s period for political or other reasons, please drop me a line.”
“Your contribution, no matter how small, is really important. By sharing your story and knowledge, you can help me document this lesser-known aspect of American history. You can provide information anonymously, or, if you choose, you can be identified by name as a contributor in any publication that includes information provided by you.”
“If you can spare a little time and have information to share, please contact me by email at bjk8 [at] sfu [dot] ca. Thank you!”
Here at GPP we’ve got a little back-up of small announcements, so here’s the collection:
SAGE — Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders –has introduced a new blog at http://blog.sageusa.org/
The Journal of Gerontological Social Work is preparing a special issue on LGBT Aging, and is looking for manuscripts, with a deadline of March 30. Find out more at http://tandf.msgfocus.com/q/11wEYnYe3ci8TBRz/wv
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is conducting its third annual survey to “give us information on how the Center is doing in reaching key audiences as well as what other resources the Center can provide to help improve the lives of LGBT older adults across the country.” The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3V28NGD
Mark Segal, longtime Gay activist and journalist, has published a new Huffington Post op-ed that includes this gem:
These are the people who grew what we now call a gay community. It was their idea to create gay community centers. It was their idea to create health centers. It was their idea to take care of our endangered youth. And now we, as their community, must take care of them. They shouldn’t have to scrap for food and a place to live every single day. They should be able to live out their years with comfort, dignity and acceptance — what they fought so hard to win for all of us.”
You can read the whole piece at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-segal/from-stonewall-to-homeles_b_2506675.html
San Francisco is the site for a 2013 $60,000 study of LGBT elders, according to an article in the Bay Area Reporter, at http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=68429
The study will be headed by Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, who also led a ground-breaking 2009 National Institutes of Health study on LGBT elders nationwide. Online surveys will be available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and results are expected by July 2013.
The article also touches on the spotty history of research in LGBT aging, focusing particularly on how AIDS sidetracked the field in the 80s and 90s. Dr. Brian de Vries, a well-regarded expert on LGBT aging, “recalled attending a lecture in the mid 1980s about gay men and aging where an audience member asked if ‘those terms are mutually incompatible “gay” and “aging.”‘” Dr. Marcy Adelman, another pioneering LGBT aging researcher, concurred. “The community wasn’t in a position to focus on aging when struggling so hard to keep everybody alive.”
The [California] Ventura Star this week ran an article examining LGBT people in assisted living, an inquiry prompted by the airing of the documentary “Gen Silent” by the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging.
“We’ve learned the bullies who are there at the beginning of life are there at the end of life,” Stu Maddux, Gen Silent’s filmmaker, said during a talk-back session. “This time, you can’t run and you can’t fight.”
The article interviews LGBT residents, potential residents, and staff members, and is illustrated by several pictures of Beverly Taylor, 81, and Edie Brown, 77, who have been together for 37 years. It’s available at http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/jan/15/aging-gays-lesbians-find-challenges-in-assisted/
A 2012 study at Auckland University interviewed 47 staff people at seven nursing home facilities about their views and experiencing caring for older gays and lesbians.
“Staff in the study found it challenging to deal with homophobic attitudes and behaviour from other aged care residents, but said high levels of cognitive impairment among some residents was a mitigating factor.”
“Aged care staff said knowing family members, friends and colleagues who identified as lesbian or gay helped in their ability to empathise with those residents.” The article is available at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10820524
If you’re in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 18, 2013, you may want to attend a White House LGBT Policy Briefing.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at:
U.S. Department of Commerce
Herbert Clark Hoover Building Auditorium
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
To RSVP, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/lgbt-policy-briefing
A short article on Barbara Warren, Beth Israel Hospital’s Director of LGBT Health Services, discusses some of the issues she is facing in implementing LGBT cultural competency training and including sexual orientation and gender identity in electronic medical records. The article also notes that she has gotten a small grant to do a wellness series called “Ask the Docs” at SAGE’s senior center, the LGBT Center, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. You can find the article at http://nypress.com/longtime-lgbt-advocate-pioneers-new-health-services/
At 83, carefully coiffed, impeccably turned out, sunny, and very much in love, Edie Windsor is going to be our representative before the Supreme Court on March 27 when it hears her case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Unfortunately, Edie will go without her beloved Thea Spyer, her partner since the early 60s, who died in 2009. It was her death that brought Edie face-to-face with DOMA. Although Edie and Thea married in Canada in 2007, the U.S. federal government said they were legal strangers, and charged Edie 50% tax on everything Thea had given her over 40 years. The bill came to over $350,000, and Edie sued. It is her case the Supreme Court chose when asked to choose among multiple cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
“The idea that I might be a piece of history blows my mind. I think it’s kind of wonderful that I’m getting my chance to really ask for justice, and I suspect I’ll get it. I’m still that little kid from the civics class. And I think they’re going to rule in our favor because I think that’s just.”
For a long article on Edie and Thea, including how their story illustrates and intersects with LGBT history in this country, go to http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/meet-the-hero-of-the-marriage-equality-movement