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Meeting LGBTQ+ Older Adults Where They Are: A Local Story

The challenges, issues and benefits of aging in America aren’t experienced by everyone in the same ways. Minority communities such as older people in the LGBTQ+ community have faced a long history of discrimination, hate, violence, and systematic neglect.

Older LGBTQ+ people have been forced to live “in the closet” and find other ways to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. Not doing so often risks the loss of a job, family, faith community, friends, and critical service providers.

Intentional effort can make a difference

Southern Arizona Senior Pride (SASP), in Tucson, AZ, is an all-volunteer grassroots organization that acknowledges the disparities in safe, welcoming services and care for LGBTQI+ older people. Senior Pride provides services that include monthly events: Speakers Series, Elder Circle, Book Club, Dance Classes, a Class to Prevent Falls, and an Intergenerational Potluck. To further interrupt isolation The Community Cares Program-Tucson provides friendly visits and phone calls to homebound people 55+ and people with disabilities of any age. We hold regular Grief Support Groups. Annually we have a poetry reading and film. We are members of the Elder Alliance and GLBT Chamber of Commerce. We partner with Pima Council On Aging, YWCA Tucson, Center for Community Dialogue, Interfaith Community Services, Soreo Hospice, PFLAG, and The UA Institute for LGBT Studies.

SASP strives to raise awareness about the unique issues facing older LGBTQ+ adults, and encourage implementation of inclusive policies. Our work celebrates, supports, and unites the LGTBQ+ community in Southern Arizona! Having lived with fear, isolation, economic consequences, and more for many years, it’s important that LGBTQ+ older adults get support uniquely crafted to meet their needs.

Learn more about Southern Arizona Senior Pride here.

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About Lavina E. Tomer

Lavina Tomer has been the Chair of Southern AZ Senior Pride for nearly 5 years. She works with an outstanding team of volunteers who sustain Senior Pride’s mission, vision and goals.