Sonoma Valley LGBTQI Seniors Celebrate Pride
|June is “Pride Month” for the LGBT community. The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, but as the community becomes more inclusive, it often includes additional letters including Q for Queer or Questioning, I for Intersex and A for Allies or Asexual … or simply a “+” sign!|
June was chosen because it was in June of 1969 that patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a popular LGBT tavern in New York City, finally rebelled against the constant police raids. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement that has led to greater acceptance and equality under the law in many countries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of those riots.
At that time, being LGBT was a crime. Until 1973, it was also defined as a mental disorder and many were institutionalized and subjected to electric or insulin shock treatments intended to “cure” them. Most LGBT individuals were also ostracized by their families and condemned by their religions.
In addition to fear of incarceration or institutionalization, LGBT individuals also had to hide who they were in order to avoid losing their jobs, being dishonorably discharged from the military, or becoming victims of violent hate crimes. Those survival instincts continue and many older LGBT adults suffer from isolation and are hesitant to utilize supportive resources.
Pride month is an opportunity for the LGBT community to promote self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights. Pride celebrations increase LGBT visibility, build community, and celebrate diversity.
Sonoma Valley LGBT Seniors held its Pride Celebration at Vintage House on June 7th. The group also meets at 10 a.m. every third Friday of the month at Vintage House for socializing and group discussion followed by an optional group lunch at a local restaurant. There are also monthly walks, group outings, and a variety of other opportunities to connect and support one another. For more information call Jan Farrell at (415) 608-5792 or Gary “Buz” Hermes at (707) 227-6935.