Tuesday, October 14, 2008
DIRECTOR STU MADDUX ATTENDS SAGE CONFERENCE ON LGBT AGING
I've just wrapped up three-days at one of the most interesting conferences that I've been to in a long time. The subject matter sounds extremely boring- LGBT aging. But the fact that the organization SAGE had a conference on this topic sponsored by AARP (including a keynote address by AARP's president) shows how much public awareness is growing of our LGBT seniors and their unique problems.
It certainly makes me feel that there will be an audience for "Gen Silent", our current documentary on LGBT seniors going back in the closet because of a lifetime of fears and struggling with discrimination.
Two resounding conclusions out of dozens of insights:
1. Every public agency in this nation that deals with aging has a mandate to provide adequate services for ALL seniors, yet LGBT seniors are not reaching out because of lifelong fears of discrimination. Many times those fears are justified with care givers, agencies or even fellow seniores they find themselves saddled with. They are dieing earlier than their straight counterparts, lonlier and with a lower quality of life.
2. If you want a "happy old age" start early learning to adapt to new situations and have a sense of humor. Early being in your twenties!
The interesting thing is adapting is a skill that many LGBT seniors were forced to learn early on because of the amount of discrimination around them.
I have been to so many conferences that lost me to a sightseeing trip at the point that there were no interesting panels going on. SAGE in New York had so many intriguing sessions going on concurrently that this conference could have easily been spread out over the week.
Bob Linscott Stu Maddux
Thank-you to Cathy Renna of Renna Communications, the public relations organization working with SAGE for allowing me access to the conference to research and interview potential subjects for "Gen Silent" even though I had no crew or camera in hand- yet.
Also to my friend, Bob Linscott at the LGBT Aging Project for allowing me to share his hotel room. I'll be trying to find funding for this project once we have footage to show people. In the meantime, places to stay, frequent flyer miles and rides from friends have made this project possible.