Gay seniors face a new activism as they age
Andrea Houston, Xtra
Tim McCaskell admits he doesn’t know much about Twitter. But the oldest member of human rights group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) says he has watched with amazement as young activists have harnessed social media to get the message out.
“Social media is being used to engage and empower activism,” he says.
In fact, the 50-plus age group is now the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Twitter.
Local seniors took part in a Nov 28 workshop on how to use social media for activism at Opening the Closet on Aging: The 50+ LGBTQ Empowerment Conference, held at the 519 Church St Community Centre.
"The need for activism doesn't stop just because we hit freedom 55," educator and moderator Anna Willats notes.
Although gay seniors have seen big changes in their lifetimes, there are still rights left to be won.
Hosted by the Senior Pride Network, the two-day conference is looking at several issues facing queer seniors, such as aging, partner benefits, trans needs, wills and long-term care. Its first day focused on activism and ways to bring the community together so seniors don’t end their lives in isolation.
The audience of about 100 was a mix of seniors, family members, caregivers and health- and long-term-care professionals.
Rinaldo Walcott, associate professor and chair in the department of sociology and equity at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), kicked the day off with a keynote speech praising the years of grassroots activism by those now in their senior years.
“You are the soldiers who paved the way for us to come out.”
By 2036, roughly a quarter of Canada’s population will be over the age of 65, the CBC reports. About one million will be from the queer community.
To read the full story: http://www.xtra.ca/public/Toronto/Gay_seniors_face_a_new_activism_as_they_age-11156.aspx