Portia Faces Life - 7/24/2019

I like to describe myself as a proudly visible member of the most invisible segment of our society – an LGBT Senior.

LGBTQ seniors have spent the majority of their lives experiencing discrimination and have now also lived through the incredible progress of the past 10 years.

Just take a minute and think about it:

If you filled out a job application in 1969, your homosexuality would have been considered a psychological disorder.

 In 1979, you were not welcome in the military.

In 1989 your co-workers might have might not have wanted to share the fridge in the break room with you due to hysteria surrounding the AIDS epidemic. 

As late as 1999, you were still four years away from the Supreme Court overturning state laws criminalizing same-sex conduct. You had to be careful what your boss and landlord knew.

This year, we’re commemorating 50 years since the Stonewall riots, when LGBT bar patrons stood up to violent police raids launching the modern LGBT civil rights movement. Our generation, the Baby Boomers aka the Stonewall Generation lived through a lot. We fought…we never gave up, and the strength and resilience that we had led the LGBT community to where we are today. Where, in spite of the tumultuousness resulting from the last presidential election, we are able to be out and proud…heads held high…BUT:

As we go grey we don’t become less gay but we are frequently overlooked when we go out to the clubs and bars. Sometimes it’s even hard to get the bartender’s attention to order a drink. 🍹 You may have seen a new ad depicting an anxious elderly man being reassured by family as he prepares to move into an assisted living facility. It tugs at your heartstrings until it sparks your anger when the man is reduced to tears as he is turned away for being gay. Under current laws, it is truth in advertising.

It’s really hard to age in general, feeling marginalized and kind of cast off from society, and that’s compounded when something that’s been a very important part of who you are for your whole life becomes something that you may feel you have to hide in places that are “for Seniors ”! 

Although I’m pretty comfortable in almost any environment, sometimes I can almost read people’s minds as they look me up and down, while they try to decide just what the hell I am. 

It’s so much nicer to be able to just relax with a group of my peers that are “family “ and not have to worry about that old “ick” factor that pops into people’s heads when they realize that I LIKE WOMEN.

 LGBT seniors deserve to age with dignity, not become the forgotten and invisible portion of our community. And we have no time to waste. Social isolation can be a relentless enemy to LGBT seniors. 

So, we created Silver Pride Project…and those who find their way to our events and meetUps can find some powerful allies.

In a society that often places emphasis on youth, Silver Pride Project provides a community of new friends for seniors,   a  peer group designed by LGBT older adults FOR LGBT older adults, many of them looking to raise awareness on LGBT aging issues and organizing social events to reduce social isolation.

SPP strives to create a safe space where those 50 years and "better" will have access to important resources and referrals regarding health care, social services, and community activities. The Silver Pride Project is open to allies - you don’t have to be gray or gay!

Check out our Community Calendar for information on some of our regular events such as CoffeeAndConvo meetups🤗 or Rainbow Rec. 

Coordinated events that are affordable or free to seniors on a fixed income in Dallas could help address pervasive loneliness. 

Join us for some decent conversation, or just for the coffee and donuts...

because sometimes you need to kick yourself in the fanny, go somewhere and hang out with some friends. 

Portia Cantrell