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2 years of union negotiations at Mazzoni Center end in LGBTQ-inclusive benefits

2 years of union negotiations at Mazzoni Center end in LGBTQ-inclusive benefits

Laura Smythe    September 28, 2019

Two years of union negotiations drew to a close Friday at Mazzoni Center, bringing the organization’s health care workers paid leave for gender-affirming surgeries, higher wages and a Labor-Management Committee...

Mark My Words

A Ugandan bill wants the death penalty f…

Mark Segal    October 17, 2019

There are so many issues I’d love to touch on in this week’s column: The LGBT Presidential Town Hall held by CNN, family leave for LGBT couples, Log Cabin Republicans...

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Media Trail - 10/18/19

National

Media Trail - 10/18/19

PGN Staff    October 17, 2019

Transgender man shunned by Baptist college to get new name The Tennessean reported a transgender man who was shunned by his private Tennessee college after getting breast reduction surgery has now...

International News - 10/18/19

International

International News - 10/18/19

PGN Staff    October 17, 2019

Polish election: Leader says gay rights are a threat to society LGBT+ rights have become the single most significant cultural issue in Poland’s election campaign ahead of the vote Oct. 6...

Judge overturns Affordable Care Act protections for trans patients

National

Judge overturns Affordable Care Act protections for trans patients

Victoria Brownworth    October 17, 2019

On Oct. 15, a federal judge overturned an anti-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, that protects transgender patients. The ruling stipulates that a 2016 policy...

Democrats weigh in on LGBTQ issues

National

Democrats weigh in on LGBTQ issues

Victoria Brownworth    October 17, 2019

The Equality Town Hall was held a few days before the fourth debate in Ohio on Oct.15 — where the term LGBTQ was not mentioned once in three hours by...

Diaries reveal hidden worlds

National

Diaries reveal hidden worlds

Matthew S. Bajko    October 17, 2019

“Damn, I’m going to be a gorgeous man,” Lou Sullivan wrote 40 years ago in one of his personal diaries.

2 Philly-driven studies investigate overlap in HIV, addiction treatment

Local

2 Philly-driven studies investigate overlap in HIV, addiction treatment

Laura Smythe    October 16, 2019

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded more than $12 million to West Philadelphia-based biomedical research group The Wistar Institute to...

OutFest celebration allegedly ends in broken jaw for trans man

Local

OutFest celebration allegedly ends in broken jaw for trans man

Laura Smythe    October 16, 2019

A trans man wearing a “Trans Lives Matter” sweatshirt was reportedly attacked inside an Old City 7-Eleven near 3rd and Market streets Sunday at 8:30 p.m. after he left OutFest...

Media Trail - 10/11/19

National

Media Trail - 10/11/19

PGN Staff    October 10, 2019

West Virginia mayor cancels appearance over author's homophobic views The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported the mayor of West Virginia's capital city has canceled her upcoming appearance at the West Virginia Book Festival...

Vintage whine: Life as an LGBTQ senior

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Suz and I collect things. We’ve been together now for almost 25 years, and we’ve collected seven kids, five grandkids, three ex-husbands, two heart attacks, five different cancers and one doozy of a concussion. Now, with me in my late 60s and Suz in her mid-70s, we found ourselves to be still madly in love, but also worn out, impoverished and physically unable to carry on with what was left of our jobs. Believe it or not, we landed on our feet.

We were on the waiting list for the John C. Anderson Apartments (LGBT friendly) in downtown Philly; so, in our desperation, we knocked on the door to check our status. At this point, we were unable to pay the rent on our old apartment, so we were being aided by a cancer charity to temporarily help cover some bills. Suz was still very ill from recent chemo, surgery and recurrent infections, plus unsteady on her feet and hard of hearing from the concussion. Me, I was paranoid that, with all the stress, caregiving and work, I was surely due for another heart attack. I mean, with all that was going on, why the hell not?

By some miracle, our subsidized apartment was soon available, and on May 1, 2017, we moved in. Now we would actually be able to survive on our social security. For the first time in years, we could breathe. With the help of the social worker, we were able to navigate our way to accessing benefits. Then we discovered local perks, like free bus rides for seniors. Ed Miller, our liaison with William Way, helps us with van trips to local super markets, and hosts festive get-togethers.

As Suz started feeling better, we decided to celebrate our new home and neighbors — now friends — by paying it forward and doing what we love: writing and socializing. In that vein, we started a newsletter and a writers’ group. Our next goal is to help create a resident handbook that will contain pertinent information, plus contact and emergency numbers.

So many LGBT folks our age, even here at JCAA, feel isolated and ignored, and don’t have someone to talk to over a cup of coffee. Sometimes, they’re just too tired or sick or disabled or depressed to advocate for themselves. Most residents live alone. We’re all “of an age,” and many of us are LGBTQ, but there’s no policy that binds us together as a community. We must do that for ourselves. And we’re the lucky ones. JCAA is still one of very few places in the country that openly welcomes us, and Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, fought hard to make that happen.

Suz and I were invited guests at Pennsylvania’s first LGBTQ Aging Summit in Harrisburg in October, and we realized that we’re not alone in our desire to help our community. No, a whole movement is afoot! A ballroom full of caring folks spent a lot of time and effort identifying our needs and making plans to implement solutions. As representatives of the target community, we were honored, heard and taken seriously.

Now we see that there’s a unified effort to reach out and provide services and care for our queer seniors. There’s also an effort to ensure we’re welcome and respected in ALL senior facilities, with policies put in place that will ensure our safety and well-being. Our pioneers are now being acknowledged by new pioneers who see us, listen to us and care. And, right here in Philly, the LGBT Elder Initiative is carrying the torch forward. The future of out and proud seniors is looking much brighter.


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