Finding strength in community action
Across the country, LGBT elders are living fully by reinvesting their talents, expertise, hard work, and passion into the communities they love. In celebration of Older Americans Month, we’re featuring just a few of our incredible community pioneers and the ways they’ve been giving back this past year.
Last summer, as Pride plans were canceled or adjusted due to the pandemic, Paulette decided she couldn’t sit around and do nothing while her community and loved ones were at risk. Instead, she spent countless hours making rainbow facemasks to hand out for free. Paulette made masks for her friends, for people in her network who needed them, and even reached out to organizations like SAGE to help her spread the word and get a mask to anyone who needed one. Hear about it in her own words!
In celebration of National Coming Out Day in October, Jay Toole and several other LGBT elders across the country connected with members of a transgender and gender nonconforming youth advocacy group called GenderCool. Jay showed the younger generations what it means to be living fully as their authentic self through candid conversations about growing up LGBT, the history of the Stonewall uprisings, and finding a place in the movement.
Don also gives back to his community by getting involved with younger generations. Don is part of an ongoing intergenerational project between older LGBT adults and students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The group builds a safe space for members of all ages to form lasting relationships with other members of the LGBT community. Don’s group is utilizing the myriad of skills their members possess to create a website and, hopefully, a coffee table book.
Cindy runs the LGBT Center in Bay County, Florida, and is a passionate advocate for the passage of the Equality Act. Cindy is aiding a public awareness campaign encouraging people to call their senators to share personally why this legislation is necessary for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those they love. Hear about Cindy’s passion in her own words:
Kim L. Hunt
Kim dedicates her time and energy to improving the lives of LGBT people in the city that she loves: Chicago. Her work at Pride Action Tank has allowed her to work on projects that not only serve LGBT community members but are co-created by the very people they will support. One of her favorite examples is OUTReach: Advocating for Safe & Inclusive Spaces for LGBT Older Adults, which has trained cohorts of LGBT older adults in storytelling and advocacy to push for policy changes that improve experiences and outcomes for all older adults.