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March 6, 2006
Conference opens the closet on aging
For the first time in Canada, a conference will focus on the special issues of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and two-spirit people and their needs in the areas of long-term care, health, home care and mental health. “Opening the Closet on Aging,” a one-day conference presented by the Senior Pride Network, offers unique opportunity for service providers and LGBT community members to learn, gain skills and share ideas.

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: The 519 Church Street Community Centre, 519 Church Street

As a generation that grew up when homosexuality and gender variance were considered “sick” or “criminal,” many elderly LGBT citizens had to live double lives: publicly living in the closet and privately learning how to find love, community and dignity. Many of these elders are now living “invisibly” in long-term care and participating “silently” in seniors’ organizations. This conference will ask how to honour their true selves and provide a safe and respectful environment.

At the same time, many “out and proud” community members who are approaching mid-life are wondering what will happen when they too become elderly and in need of services. Will they receive culturally competent care? Will the environment be welcoming and respectful for them and their partners, families and friends? The conference will also feature discussion on these important questions.

Conference features include a panel where members of the LGBT community speak about aging, their hopes and fears, a narrated slide show on the history and geography of transgender people, and workshops on developing welcoming services, mental health, the Aboriginal concept of Two-Spirit people, and excellence in home care. Other features include a screening room offering short films and documentaries, display booths featuring mainstream and LGBT services, and an art and photography exhibit by LGBT seniors.

“Opening the Closet on Aging” is presented by the Senior Pride Network, and is sponsored by the City of Toronto, XTRA! and The 519 Church Street Community Centre.

Media contact:

Rosemary Bennett
Toronto Social Development, Finance & Administration
416-328-4402 (pager)



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