For Coming Out Day 2013, Ebony magazine published a profile of Ty Martin, a 65-year-old Black gay man who serves as SAGE’s Harlem Community Liaison.
Ty is also one of three older LGBT people featured in the new documentary, Before You Know It, which is currently raising funds for distribution (see http://beforeyouknowitfilm.com/). In the Ebony profile, he talks about how Harlem has changed for LGBT people, and then concludes,
“I wish I could say something profound about being Black, gay and a senior in Harlem but my story is pretty much the same as anyone else. We all want to be connected to somebody.
“Why do you think churches are full on Sunday? People want to find some connection. Or else, why do they go? I think it’s the same reason why clubs are packed on Saturday. [Laughs.]
“At the end of the day everyone wants someone to talk to and feel connected to.”
The full article is available at http://www.ebony.com/news-views/national-coming-out-day-a-seniors-story-304#axzz2hQy611wH
If you need a pick-me-up, watch a 9-minute video of Gail Marquis and Audrey Smaltz at http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2013/02/14/devotion-project-gail-marquis-audrey-smaltz-foremost-my-mind.
Now 57 and 75, respectively, the two met 14 years ago. Their senses of humor, ease with each other, and optimism are all infectious. Enjoy!
African-Americans are less likely than white Americans to have advance directives, a discrepancy that may be particularly dangerous to African-American LGBT older adults.
A new article from American Society on Aging (ASA) member Natalie Chin offers the story of a 30-year lesbian couple who were separated by family members when one of the pair entered a nursing home. Advance directives could have prevented that tragedy. The article goes on to describe the types of documents that are included under the “advance directives” umbrella, and suggests people can get “informatio on organizations that assist individuals with advance directives at www.lawhelp.org.” The article is available from http://www.asaging.org/blog/reticence-and-necessity-power-attorney-and-lgbt-aging-issues
In honor of Black History Month, the Bay Area Reporter has published an article entitled, “Black LGBT elders face isolation,” at http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=68482
The article interviews six Black or mixed-race LGBT people ranging in age from 40 to 64, and focuses heavily on the impact AIDS has had on this cohort. It also, however, contains a quote that speaks to “hidden” populations when they realize they are welcome somewhere:
“[Larry Saxxon] recalled being the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s first black social worker in the 1980s. ‘They said, “there may not be a lot of black clients, Larry,” Saxxon, who’s multi-racial, said. However he said, ‘The word came out, honey, and all of these black queens came flying in from the Tenderloin.'”
It’s true: a picture is worth a thousand words. You’ll undoubtedly agree if you web surf over to “Hidden in the Open: A Photographic Essay of Afro American Male Couples from the Distant Past,” at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hidden-in-the-open/sets/72157624480472079/with/6643176983/
The collection spans more than a century, with images from the mid 19th century to as late as the 1980s. Many are accompanied by essays that reveal how African-American gay men met each other and survived in a hostile world. A long introductory essay discusses early styles of photography (see the sixth paragraph) as well as a critique of modern images of African-American gay men.
LGBT history is important to people who are or serve LGBT elders now not just because many of us lived through these experiences, but also because it’s important to really get that LGBT people have existed in all eras and places. This stirring collection is an important piece of the puzzle.
Want to support a key resource-in-development? Consider the Untitled Black Lesbian Elder Project, a documentary being produced by filmmaker Tiona McClodden and Lisa C. Moore, publisher of Red Bone Press. It will feature Black lesbians in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
If you live in New York City, consider attending some of their fundraisers. If you don’t live in NYC, consider making other types of contributions. You can read more about this project at http://ubleproject.tumblr.com/ or check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Untitled-Black-Lesbian-Elder-Project/200050120031034