Updates for LGBT Older Adults
Stay in the Loop 
LGBT News for June 2022
Links and videos of interest to the mature LGBT adult are just a click away.
A Rose for Dora Richter
The words per scientiam ad justitiam—through science to justice—are chiseled on the simple gray tomb of Magnus Hirschfeld. The physician is best known for founding Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Research in 1919, breaking the ice on the modern study of sexuality. This year marks another achievement—the centenary of the first gender-affirming surgery, which Hirschfeld and his Institute made possible.

Transgender lives during Hirschfeld’s time were often made criminal, and arrests were common for wearing clothes of a gender different from the one physicians assigned at birth. One of Hirschfeld’s early victories was persuading the German police to issue “transvestite passes,” based on medical opinion, which gave permission for some to dress as they wished. The Institute also provided support for trans people and helped them find employment. For the sexual minorities of the time, says Brandy Schillace, historian and editor of the BMJ’s Medical Humanities journal, Hirschfeld’s Institute was something like the opposite of conversion therapy: “It let you be yourself among other people who also recognized you as yourself.”

How Do You Know If You’re Bisexual?
Bisexual activist Shiri Eisner, author of “Bi: Notes For A Revolution,” suggests asking yourself the following questions to determine if you’re bisexual:

  • Does the term bisexual give me a sense of comfort?
  • Does the term bisexual give me a sense of adventure?
  • Is it fun for me to think about being bisexual?
  • Does the thought of being bisexual or identifying as bisexual make me happy?
  • Does it make me feel good about myself?
  • Does the term bisexuality give me a sense of challenge?
  • Does it give me community? Or support?
  • Does it give me anything else I’m after?

The Rainbow Lunch Club is gathering in person!
Wednesdays June 8th & 22nd at noon

The Rainbow Lunch Club meets the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of each month at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, 90 Holden Street, Worcester, MA. Lunch is served at noon, followed by programs or social time.

If you wish to attend the Rainbow Lunch please call or email WLEN one week prior: 508-756-1545 ext. 404 or wlen@eswa.org. If no one is available please leave a message including your name and phone number and date you plan to attend.

Is there a cost to participate? We suggest a $2.50 donation from guests age 60 and older. The fee for all guests under age 60 is $5.50. Donations and fees help to defray the agency’s cost. 
June 8th Menu.
June 22nd Menu
We are so excited!
Coming soon!
the return of the
Rainbow Supper Club

new day, new time
Stay tuned for formal announcement
Laws don't implement themselves. We need your voice to make sure LGBTQ+ elders feel safe accessing essential aging services through the Older Americans Act. Today is National Honor Our LGBTQ+ Elders Day and this year, we want to do more than honor them: we want to act.

Sign the petition to tell the Federal Administration for Community Living's Administration on Aging that LGBTQ+ elders deserve access to services that allow them to age with respect and dignity. 

Prides Across New England in 2022
Across New England, Pride parades, festivals and related events are reemerging into an if-not-quite post-pandemic world, then surely a healthier, more resilient one. Planning for them alone reflects real change and boosted resilience.

As we move into Pride Season 2022, organizers are still updating their plans. Here’s a list of what we’ve found so far, but be sure to keep checking their websites and other social media for updates as details are subject to change right up to event dates.

Aging and Disability Often Intersect, But Safety Support Systems May Not
Amy Herrgesell, self-portrait (2021). This series features self-portraits by adults living with intellectual or developmental disabilities from the "What Makes Me Me" exhibition at Scottsdale Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz.  |  Credit: Photo by Scottsdale Arts
People with disabilities are often vulnerable to abuse, fraud and other safety threats. So are older people. Since aging often brings on or worsens physical and/or cognitive disabilities, it stands to reason that safety risks increase. And as the overall population ages, there will be more people who fall into both these categories.

Yet many professionals trained to deal with one population have little experience with the other, say people who work in the field. Services also vary among states, which fund and administer different programs, and between urban and rural areas, they say.

Welcoming the Inaugural Mes de la Historia LGBTQ+ Cuba (May 2022). The International Committee on LGBTQ+ History Months welcomes the start of Mes de la Historia LGBTQ+ Cuba, the first-ever LGBTQ+ History Month in Latin America.
Before Stonewall: The Women's House of Detention Changed Queer History
Hugh Ryan's crucial new book will change how you think about LGBTQ+ history.
Years before the Stonewall uprising, the Women's House of Detention was an unavoidable fixture of queer life. "It was one of the Village’s most famous landmarks: a meeting place for locals and a must-see site for adventurous tourists," Ryan writes. "And for tens of thousands of arrested women and transmasculine people from every corner of the city, the House of D was a nexus, drawing the threads of their lives together in its dark and fearsome cells."

From 1929 to 1974, the House of Detention permeated life in New York City so thoroughly that it even began appearing in songs and pop culture. In 1960, Jerry Herman, the famed Broadway composer of Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, wrote a song for his Off-Broadway musical revue Parade! called "Save The Village," originally entitled “Don’t Tear Down the House of Detention." In 1972, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, the Broadway musical by Melvin Van Peebles, known as the godfather of modern Black cinema, featured the song "10th and Greenwich" (the well-known address of the prison). The song is considered the first lesbian love song in Broadway history.

Going to your first drag show? Here’s what you absolutely need to know
Queer, straight or anywhere in-between, going to your first drag show is an unforgettable experience. The glamour, the camp, the sheer gay fun of it all. But if you’ve never been to a drag show, you may be surprised to learn that there are definitely expectations of you as an audience member.

Don’t worry, with this guide, we’ve got you on what to do to make your first show as fabulous as possible for both you and the performers.

This Mom Started Her Own Church to Support Her Trans Son
When Tiffany Holloway’s 16-year-old son told her that he would take his own life if he weren’t able to access gender-affirming care, she knew she had to act quickly.

Holloway was driving her son home from school in April when he brought up a bill that had been recently signed into law in Alabama criminalizing hormones, puberty blockers, and surgery for trans youth. Senate Bill 184, which took effect Monday, threatens medical providers who offer these treatments to trans minors with up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Her son said that he didn’t want to live anymore if a similar law were to pass in their state of Oklahoma.

Having watched her son flourish after he began receiving testosterone therapy four years ago, Holloway said she felt helpless as he grappled with the news.

Forcibly displaced LGBT persons face major challenges in search of safe haven
GENEVA (16 May 2022) – On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a group of UN and regional human rights experts urged governments to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse (LGBT) persons fleeing persecution are protected against violence and treated with dignity. The experts issued the following joint statement:

“Among 84 million people who are currently forcibly displaced worldwide, LGBT persons are particularly vulnerable and marginalized. Fleeing persecution and socio-economic exclusion, they often reside in countries that do not provide strong human rights protections or actively discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ariana DeBose, Tim Cook and Megan Rapinoe among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2022
The list, which celebrates influential figures in the fields of the arts, politics, sports and activism, has praised several people within the LGBTQ+ community including musician Michelle Zauner and actress Ariana DeBose.

Rapinoe, who was named alongside teammates Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan, was praised for “dragging soccer to the right side of history” by tennis legend Billie Jean King thanks to their fight for pay equity in women’s football.

“It was the biggest win of their lives. And something tells me they are not done yet,” King said.

Playwright Michael R Jackson was honoured by Pose actor Billy Porter, who said his musical A Strange Loop gave him “hope for people like me whose stories have been undervalued for so long”.

Inside queer proms, where LGBTQ adults get a high school re-do
Meghan Dengler is a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic. It's how the 31-year-old explains her fascination with "promposals" - the high school ritual of inviting a date to prom often through elaborate and public gestures.

But she never had that experience. In fact, her prom in 2009 looked a lot different than how she had imagined it - largely because the all-girls Catholic school she attended wouldn't allow students to bring same-sex dates or arrive solo.

The Blindside Wipeout of Grief
On an ordinary afternoon walking through Wal-Mart in search of those affordable staples everyone finds at big-box stores, I passed a family having typical squabbles with each other — teens arguing with their parents, a young child begging for a sugary snack — all tense and irritated. I nodded, agreeing with myself that I was glad to be past that age and stage of life, acknowledging that this is what families normally do when they get in each other's hair.

Then it hit: A wall of abject pain slammed into me, full of loss, longing, loneliness, and heartache.

Updated Schedule of Massachusetts LGBTQ+ Lunch, Supper, and Social Clubs for Older Adults!
Calendar brought to you by The LGBTQIA+ Aging Project at The Fenway Institute.

The LGBTQIA+ Aging Project at The Fenway Instituteprovides support and technical assistance to elder service organizations who are interested in developing community programs for older LGBTQ+ adults in their area. To learn more about starting virtual or in person programs in your area please contact us at (857) 313-6578. We also provide technical support for LGBTQ+older adults who need help joining these programs or are interested in starting one in their town.

2021 ESWA-WLEN LGBT+ Resource Guide is now available for download!
Please reach out to us if you would like a hard copy of the guide at WLEN@eswa.org or call 508-756-1545 ext. 404

If you are in need of resources or socialization during this challenging time, please reach out to our WLEN Peer Workers, Joan and Dot. They are available to chat and break up your day, or assist you in getting the resources you need to stay home and stay safe during the COVID crisis.

To reach us, just email WLEN@eswa.org, or call 508-756-1545; we check our messages regularly, someone will reach out to you soon.
WLEN– Worcester LGBT Elder Network, is a joint effort of Elder Services of Worcester Area Inc.,
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging and the Worcester Senior Center.