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Introducing the LGBTIQ People Ageing Well Project

Introducing the LGBTIQ People Ageing Well Project

9/5/2017

An exciting new Project has just commenced as a partnership between COTA SA and the SA Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA). The Project is titled: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning/Queer (LGBTIQ) People Ageing Well. The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has contributed funds towards this Project.

The Project will ‘kick start' an older LGBTIQ ‘user movement' in South Australia to address the issues, priorities and strategies identified as key issues through forums such as the "Bring Your Wisdom to the Table" forum, which was held in December 2015. At this forum LGBTIQ participants identified the factors that influenced their ageing experiences and the ways in which those experiences might be improved. The Project will ensure there are opportunities for older LGBTIQ people across South Australia to have input, including people in regional and rural settings. There will also be opportunities for remembering and celebrating the many contribution of the LGBTIQ communities to the history of South Australia, particularly through the gay rights movement.

Older LGBTIQ people have lived through a period in Australia's history when they experienced discrimination, stigma, criminalisation, rejection from family and social isolation. Through this history LGBTIQ people and in particular older LGBTIQ people have a history of tackling prejudices, advocating for changes to the law, setting up social groups to find connection & building community and the circumstances they faced. In spite of the many barriers to equality LGBTIQ people have demonstrated resilience and determination to tackle homophobia in all of its forms.

In South Australia it was in the 1970's that the so called Gay Liberation movement commenced. In 1973 Gay Pride Week was the first public celebration of its kind held in Adelaide. The "Proud Parade" was held on Saturday September 15th 1973. This was organised by the Gay Activists Alliance, which was formed in May 1973. The group published a magazine for the community which was called Boiled Sweets. The next Pride March wasn't held until 2003 as part of Adelaide's FEAST Queer Cultural Festival.

The LGBTIQ population is of course not a homogenous group, although there may be some similarities between groups in relation to sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. LGBTIQ people don't want to be defined by their sexual orientation, sex or gender identity but for many members of the communities it is an important part of who they are. Some older LGBTIQ people have been very connected to and part of their community whilst others will only have minimal contact with the community. And, as with any group, LGBTIQ older people also have diverse characteristics that overlap & influence their particular needs. This includes people living in regional & rural settings, people from culturally & linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. COTA SA & SARAA will be mindful of providing opportunities for a broad cross section of older LGBTIQ people from across South Australia to participate in the 12 month Project.

As the peak body for older South Australian's COTA SA is committed to ensuring all older South Australian's have an opportunity to be heard about what matters to them as they age. One of this Project's aims is to establish a LGBTIQ Older Persons Steering Committee to work with both COTA SA and SARAA ensuring that they have a voice.

The Project Manager, who commenced with COTA SA on April 10th, is Desmond Ford. Desmond has a long term history of working in and with LGBTIQ communities at both a State and National level. Desmond has a strong personal and professional commitment to ensuring that LGBTIQ people have an opportunity to lead the best lives possible and that the contributions of older LGBTIQ people are both recognised and celebrated.

As COTA SA embraces the diversity of our modern ageing, we look forward to standing alongside SARAA as we come to understand act on the things that matter most to the older LGBTQI community in South Australia.

For further information about the Project, Desmond can be contacted by email: dford@cotasa.org.au or mobile: 0409 280 459.

And if you want to keep up-to-date with what's happening we'll post news and updates on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lgbtiqpeopleageingwell/ - so like/follow us to stay posted.