Saturday, September 4, 2010

The empty room reality check

Dale Mitchell, Stu Maddux, Lisa Krinsky

I was humming along with standing ovations and sold out crowds for our LGBT Aging Documentary, Gen Silent, when along came a HUGE reality check at this week's National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association annual convention in San Francisco.

Now listen, it's just an honor to speak to a group of national reporters, so that was a coup in itself.

I was asked to show a chunk of our film and assemble a panel of experts and seniors to talk about LGBT aging issues worth covering....and....

there were 11 people in the audience:

What hell looks like to a moderator

We had a decent time slot.
We worked HARD on getting people into that room.
And I felt HORRIBLE for those friends I had asked to fly in to be on the panel. I felt like the boy who cried, "WOLF." And that feeling created a not so hot job of moderating the panel- but no matter.

Those eleven that did attend heard passionate quotes about the good stories out there from aging experts in the film, Lisa Krinksy (LGBT Aging Project), Dale Mitchell (Ethos) and in the San Francisco area from, Michele Horn Davis (Openhouse). There were also eye-opening responses from transgender senior Felicia Elizondo and eloquent remarks from gay senior Randy Hicks.

And in the end there was an inkling of triumph. It came from those very thoughtful reporters and editors, all xxxx of them who introduced themselves afterwards and asked excellent questions. Maybe a few articles will come out of it. All it takes is one.

There's nothing like staring out into an empty ballroom from a podium to make you feel challenged. This is a message that must be heard- even by a few people at a time.

Dale Mitchell with one of the business cards exchanged after our panel discussion


  1. Harley Dennett, Aus gay journalist currently based in Washington DC, is very interested in this issue as he said on my radio show last week.

  2. This is not unusual when I present on LGBT Aging issues. I refer to it as my "hostess" moment - "what if I host a party and nobody comes?"
    These are the moments when we realize we are part of building a movement and raising awareness. And that we have our work cut out WITHIN the LGBT community itself. There's still lots of ageism among LGBT folks who value youth and fear growing older (true in our broader culture as well). The "select" group that joined our session are ahead of the curve in realizing the importance of LGBT aging/caregiving. And... Stu did a great job moderating the panel regardless of how he felt!