Monthly Archives: March 2013

Oral History Video from LA Gay and Lesbian Center

LA gay-and-lesbian-center-logo1The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center has posted a new YouTube video with professionally-edited snippets (and background music) from 10 older lesbians and gay men, available at

Those interviewed include a lesbian couple who has been together 63 years and at least four other people in their 80s.  The topics they cover include coming out to parents and family members, feeling like “I’m the only one,” Stonewall, caretaking for a dying ex-partner, and how hard it is to come out when you’ve lived “two lives” all your life, complete with different names for each.  It’s well worth a watch.

The Risks of Aging In the Closet

closet doorAlthough they have long since retired, have little or no contact with their families of origin, and have been with their partners for decades, the women interviewed in the Health Policy Solutions article “The Risks of Aging in the Closet” ( all used their middle names to avoid being identifiable. Continue reading

Stonewall Pioneers on Same-Sex Marriage

Stonewall“They are in their mid-60s now — about the average age of a Supreme Court justice.”

So begins a USA Today article ( on how the Stonewall Generation views same-sex marriage, a topic the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up next week.  As makes sense in as diverse a community as ours, there is little consensus.  Some have decided getting married is a good thing, while others are marrying only because they must to keep benefits they had under previous arrangements when marriage wasn’t an option.

The article also discusses chronological age may impact one’s politics and priorities.  As one person who was 20 in 1969 put it, “I was forced to meet people in bars that were owned by the Mafia.  I was basically pushed into a criminal environment.  Society pushed us underground.  All I would have told you is that ‘I want to get back in the bar and dance.’  I wasn’t aware of what I didn’t have.”  Now he says of the potential Supreme Court decision: “If the court denies me my basic rights, they will probably this time see a bigger riot on their hands than they did that night at Stonewall.”

Massachusetts Conference: LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World

Salem conferenceTransgender Aging 101 will be one of several workshops available at a conference on Monday, March 11, 2013, at Salem State University School of Social Work in Salem, Massachusetts.

The conference, presented by the LGBT Aging Project, North Shore Elder Serivces, and Salem State University, will feature a keynote by Gary Bailey, President of the International Federation of Social Workers.  The registration fee of $95 ($45 for seniors 60+ and students with current student ID) includes continental breakfast, lunch, and closing reception.  (CEUs available for an extra fee.)

Onsite registrations will be taken.  The conference starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Marsh Conference Center, at Salem State University Central Campus, Salem, MA.  For information, call 978-624-2261.

Biographical Approaches for Inclusive Care and Support (book review and discount)

LGBT aging bookWhat does knowing someone’s life story have to do with providing good care to them?  Everything, says a new book, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Ageing: Biographical Approaches for Inclusive Care and Support.

“[T]he telling of life stories has a status and significance within the LGBT communities that is closely intertwined with a history of emancipation and the struggle for recognition and rights.  Such narratives have been central to the process of developing a collective awareness, as Riessman (2008) notes in her discussion of the power of biographical narrative for minoritised groups.  ‘Major resistance movements of the twentieth century were born as individuals sat together and told stories about small moments of discrimination.  Commonalities in the stories created group belonging and set the stage for collective action’ (Riessman 2008, p. 9).” Continue reading

More LGBT Elder Housing Going Up in Los Angeles

GLEHProgress is being made on a new 40-unit building to augment the very successful affordable senior housing development run by the Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing Los Angeles (GLEH).

The building, scheduled to open in 2014, will offer one to three-bedroom apartments for rents averaging between $200 and $800.  It will join Triangle Square, which has 104 units and opened its doors on March 22, 2007.  For more information, go to

Jakarta Home for Aging Trans “Waria”

Yulianus RettoblautYulianus Rettoblaut, 51 and the first transgender person to earn a law degree from an Islamic university, has opened her home to other aging Indonesian “waria,” according to an article and video available at

Waria combines the Indoensian word for woman (wanita) and the word for man (pria).  Between 3 and 12 waria live at the home (the video and article contradict each other), with as many as 800 on a waiting list.  Government funds will provide some food subsidies, while 70 churches are said to provide some support (mostly shelter during floods).

The 7-minute video interviews Rettoblaut and several of her residents and includes stories about her brother’s rejection and ultimate reconciliation.  The article also address opposition from the Islamic Defenders Front.