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Why it matters today

By CAROLINE O'CONNOR  |  October 31, 2014

We’re working with SAGE Maine (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), and also we work with AARP, and in the coming months we will be co-hosting community conversations and talking to elders in the community, and talking to service providers to determine needs and (learn) what do we need to do to promote elder safety so they (elders) don’t have to go back into the closet when entering a nursing home or a community living facility, and so that they can be their authentic, true selves as they age. We’re 100 percent committed to that—to help increase awareness, we have an elder history project we’ll be working on, which we hope will be done around the fall or early winter. It’s a video documentary project being done by an artist who is profiling six or eight elders around the state of Maine—we’ll be showing the film across the state to have community conversations. My hope is that we’ll utilize the film at nursing homes in brown-bag lunches, we’ll show it to their staff, so it’ll encourage cultural competency and LGBTQ elder training—showing the video will create that personal story for people to feel connected to, so were really excited about that work.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about the organization?

One of the things I’ve been hearing since I started is that the community is looking for more activities and events to feel connected with one another. We’re figuring out how we’re hosting and organizing meetings around the state; we’re organizing meet and greets and house parties, fun things in different locations—we did one in Lewiston-Auburn; there’s one coming up in Cape Elizabeth; in Ogunquit. We’re trying to plan something else in Bangor for the spring, (and) make sure we’re meeting needs and request of the community. 

Major Advancements in the LGBTQ Rights Movement

>> The ‘60s and ‘70s saw the emergence of a rights-based activism which was unlike labor rights activism of the ‘50s. 
>> Canada endorsed a leading progressive politics on LGBT rights starting in the 50s, and the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York emerged as a liberal
reaction to discriminatory laws and cultural treatments of homosexuality. 
>> The first women’s studies course to be taught in American universities
was offered at Cornell in 1969; the first comprehensive women’s studies departments were established at universities in San Diego and in Buffalo
the next year. 
>> The first Gay Liberation Day March commenced in the ‘70s and term PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) was coined.
>> The first Gay Liberation Day March commences in New York in 1970. 
>> Madeline Davis’s “Stonewall Nation” becomes the first gay anthem, and spiritual communities begin ordaining GLBT clergy. 
>> Bisexuality gains recognition in religious communities and gay/lesbian circles, and the Lesbian Herstory Archives (still the world’s largest
collection of lesbian literature) opens to the public out of Joan Nestle and Deborah Edel’s Brooklyn apartment. 
>> Lesbian and gay lifestyle materializes in public and mainstream culture in the 1970s, with the emergence of the rainbow flag, the election and consequential assassination of Harvey Milk in San Francisco, and the first homosexuality-rights march on Washington.
>> The term LGBT emerged in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s to reflect those who felt excluded from the primarily “gay” terminology. The term “LGBTQ” wasn’t widely used until 1996, when the now-common “Q” for “queer and questioning” was added onto the end of the epithet.
>> Queer studies emerged in academic and in cultural circles in the early ‘90s as a response to the AIDS crisis, and engendered a critique of homonormativity— cultural critic and scholar Lisa Duggan coined the term homonormative in 2002 to refer to an identity politics which does not contest dominant  heteronormative assumptions and institutions, but upholds and sustains them.

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