PGN Special Edition Coverage

How do you combat loss, isolation, loneliness and possibly failing health in your later years? This concern is very real for many older Americans, but for LGBT adults living in the suburbs, it can be especially challenging.

The risk factors for social isolation affect LGBT older adults in unique and disproportionate ways. One primary risk factor is living alone. According to SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), LGBT older people, when compared to their heterosexual counterparts, are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single and up to four times less likely to have children.

Examples of lesbian sexuality all over early American history into the beginning of the 20th century provide a myriad of reasons why lesbianism was actually embraced, right up until the turn of the 19th and then into the 20th century — when it wasn’t.

Willyce Kim is the first Asian-American lesbian writer to be published in the U.S. She spent her childhood years in Hawaii and California, and graduated from San Francisco College for Women in 1968. Kim was influenced by musicians such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and writers including Adrienne Rich and Diane Di Prima. She self-published her first poetry chapbook, “Curtains of Light,” with her sister in 1970 and soon after she began working with the Women’s Press Collective in Oakland. As a member of the collective, she published works, took photographs and traveled the country to distribute literature and give readings at colleges, bookstores and women’s bars. In the ’70s and ’80s, she published three poetry collections, two novels, and contributed to literary magazines including The Furies, Phoenix Rising, and Conditions.

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