“As we celebrate 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising, we recognize that many of our LGBTQ elders were our forefathers and foremothers,” says Josh Riley, director of community commitment at Whitman-Walker Health. “This is our chance to lift them up and celebrate their ground-laying actions that made it possible for all the changes that have occurred over the years to happen.”
For the second year, Whitman-Walker Health will host Silver Pride, a community event for LGBTQ people ages 60 and over. This year’s event will take place on Friday, May 10, from 2-7 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center.
Silver Pride, which is free and open to the public, will feature a resource fair with representatives from various community organizations and businesses, including NBC4, AARP, Whitman-Walker Legal Services, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, Casa Ruby, Iona Senior Services, Comfort Zone, the U.S. Census Bureau, and more.
At the same time as the resource fair, attendees will also have a space to relax, socialize, and enjoy some snacks before heading off to two different workshop sessions from 3:30-5:15 p.m.
Some of the available workshops will be fun activities, and others will be more informational, providing information on topics such as health benefits, social services, and estate planning.
Following the workshops, there will be a social networking happy hour and a dance party from 5:30-7 p.m., hosted by local emcee and community activist Rayceen Pendarvis, host of The Ask Rayceen Show.
Because of the growth of Pride celebrations and their shift towards a party-like atmosphere that can go into the late-night hours, many seniors have been left out of the loop when it comes to celebrating Pride, says Riley.
Silver Pride is intended to change that narrative and push for more inclusion of LGBTQ elders, who can be respected for their own contributions and sacrifices.
“A comment I heard at last year’s Silver Pride helps reinforce why it’s important,” says Riley. “I was standing next to this person, and they got a little emotional, and said, ‘This is the greatest number of my peers that I’ve ever been with at the same time.’
“I thought about it later, I was struck by the fact that this person could possibly be very isolated, but, more to the point, gay culture’s acceptance by the larger society has happened very rapidly, so that means a lot of people got left out or never were able to develop a sense of community in the same way as younger generations,” he adds. “And I think Silver Pride is a way to celebrate that. Our seniors deserve an event that’s theirs, where they can hang out and spend time together and have a good time.”
Silver Pride is on Friday, May 10, from 2-7 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. For more information, visit www.whitman-walker.org/events/silverpride.