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Aging has long been a frightening topic in the gay community, where youth often seems synonymous with happiness — particularly so among the males. But like it or not, the GLBT community grays just like the rest of humanity. Sunday, Sept. 24, The Center: Home for GLBT in Metro D.C. organized a meeting aiming to show, however, that gaiety is eternal.
”We are just saturated with [ageism] in our community,” lamented Ken South of the Prime Timers, while addressing the 30-or-so people who attended the afternoon meeting at the downtown Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. ”It’s important that we’re out there so people can see there are old, gay men who are having a good time. … They’re 70 years old, but they’re like teenagers.”
In all, representatives from nine groups outlined what they had to offer the metro areas GLBT seniors. Along with South’s group, those offering social outlets were Metro Retirees and Older Wiser Lesbians (OWLS).
Service providers or coordinators included The Center, Whitman-Walker Clinic Lesbian Services Program, the Mautner Project and Senior Health Services. Speakers from Burgundy Crescent Volunteers and the Rainbow History Project were there to explain how seniors can remain plugged into the GLBT community by volunteering with their respective organizations.
While GLBT aging may not be a topic traditionally greeted by much enthusiasm, the gay elders at this meeting presented a surprisingly upbeat invitation to join them in celebrating their twilight years among their peers. ”We’re open to just having fun,” promised Miriam Levy, an OWL.
Dick Schmidt of Metro Retirees, like Levy, promised that his group offers a range of social activities, from house tours to brunches to black-tie galas. And romance, he suggested: ”Many new friendships have come out of this, and even a few happy relationships.”