Friday, March 20, 2009

Description of My Time with (OLOC) at SAGE Roundtable & (LAIN) Meeting at and before American Society on Aging in Las Vegas

(Mina and I stayed at the Paris Hotel, well designed place given what it is- a gambling mecca, Ballys was the second hotel used by ASA)

It has been quite a week attending and presenting both before and during meetings at the annual American Society on Aging Conference in Las Vegas. Mina and I attended as OLOC representatives along with our immediate past Co-chair of OLOC Shaba Barner, immedicate past Co-Chair of Old Lesbians Organizing for Changee, and Ruth Debra who is on the Steering Committee with MIna. I gave a talk on what I do as Research Gatekeeper. We are satisfied with the attendance that occurred at our presenatation and all the information we put out on the table was gone after our session so there must have been strong interest.

Karen Taylor was there representing SAGE (Senior Advocacy and Service for Gay Elders of New York). All day Saturday (March 15th), we spent networking and working in groups at the roundtable which is a joint operation of The LGBT Taskforce and SAGE, NY soon to be under SAGE leadership completely. Agencies and program from all over the country were in attendance. The Roundtable consisted of about 22 individuals who were there representing a wide variety of groups and organizations that serve or cater to older LGBT people on some level. OLOC was the only membership group attending, the rest seemed to be agenices or programs geared to aging concerns. OLOC is a grassroots movement organization which fights ageism and bring the message of OLD LESBIAN PRIDE to the old generation, over 60 population of OLD LESBIANS.

In addition to my activities with LGBT aging, I also presented a workshop with a graduate student from my campus on the topic of "An Older Adult Center on a University Campus". I also attended my student's session which focused on S. East Asian Experience (Indians from India) using a novel theory on Aging in Place of Choice. I would give names but sadly I think this student might prefer not to be named on a blog titled Leftunronrights etc.

I also participated and volunteered to be part of LAIN (LGBT aging interest network at ASA) ClearingHouse Committee which collects and runs an online website of LGBT references and annotated information on all aspects of aging as it affects LGBT persons. I talked abut gathering information on ageism as it affects LGBT folks among other resources and articles that I come across over the year. We (MIna and I ) attended the peer group session of LAIN and also went to the workshop on the second publication of the pdf document OUTINGAGE which is put out by the LGBT Taskforce. Collected information at that session that was very helpful about federal grants that are available for the kind of project and services we tend to want to produce.

Mina and I attended one evening entertainment part of the conference on Wed. at 5:30 which featured Debbie Reynolds, the movie star who was so popular when Mina and I were growing up and also when we were teenagers. She did a great show, singing, dancing, telling jokes but at a certain point the audience was frightened as Ms. Reynolds appeared to have a fainting spell (what we thought was a TIA) but she did recover quickly and finished the night to great applause. What a trooper!!! We were blown away. The show wasn't that ageist either, only a few self deprecating comments about her looks though she looked swell, actually the same image is projected as she was when we were young. Of course, what it takes for Debbie to get that image across makes her the victim of the worst kind of ageism and I suppose we as the audience were continuing the problem but I must say I loved her humor and the sincere heartfelt comments she shared with us. Just a real walk down memory lane which is what the show is supposed to be. At one point she mentioned to the younger members of the audience that if they were trying to figure out who she was that she is the mother of Queen Leah from the the movie Starwars. I thought it was funny the way she pulled that one off.

In any case, I think OLOC was well represented. Shaba Barnes and Ruth Debra did very well with their speeches. The mostly forty and fifty year olds who attended our session titled "OLd Lesbians Organizing for Change" appeared to be ready and anxious to join us one day when they reach the age of 60 themselves. It was fun all the way around. We got some gambling in and came home with some money which is better than coming home with Notta. . When we got home all our flowers were in full bloom especially the azaleas and irises. The weather is foggy and cold early morning and later at night and during the day kind of on the warmer side so that is good growing weather I think. I am happy to be home. 6 days in Vegas is a bit much.