Never Too Late - July 2022

Visibility Matters

What is Strong Allyship?

Arizona Senior Pride celebrating, supporting and uniting LGBTQI+ older adults 520-312-8923;; All in-person events require masks and vaccinations, bring your card. different walks of life than I. Though I had always thought that something like marriage equality was okay, I had never really considered what it meant to be an ally and be supportive of this population. In 2015 same sex marriage became legal in the United States through a Supreme Court decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges. Having supported same sex marriage for years and it coming to fruition through I share this, because though my time in school and my formative years are in the much more recent past than perhaps many of you reading this, I don’t think they are too far off from the experiences we as straight allies have had throughout generations. Soon after graduating from high school in 2012, I went to the University of Arizona, where I began to join clubs and programs that had different people from different backgrounds and By Maddy Bynes, Director of Public Policy & Special Projects In my adult lifetime, I’ve seen the shift in public thinking and opinion about people who identify as LGBTQI+. I remember when I was in high school, just a mere decade ago, when being gay meant that you will be bullied and potentially physically harassed. Until 2013, I had never heard the word “transgendered.” The thought of a person wanting to be, or better yet needing to be, identified as a different gender than the one assigned to them at birth never even registered for me.

On-going events: Registration is required for attendance - GBTQI+ Mens Loss Group ; weekly on Tuesday; 1:30–3pm; in-person Elder Discussion/Support Group ; second Saturday; 1:30–3pm; in-person Southern Book Club ; third Wednesday; 2–3:30p; on Zoom The second step is to educate yourself. If you don’t know where to start, ask a friend. Learn preferred terms and phrases. Learn what people would like to be called and remember that as allies, we don’t get to choose what they would like, we get to respect their wishes. In this, you’re bound to mess up, call someone by the wrong gender pronoun, make a mistake, or say a phrase that someone is offended or hurt inclusive health care, and worrying about if home care and other services for older people would properly support them. The first step to allyship is listening. Listen to those in your life who identify as part of a marginalized community and come to the table with an open mind. Too often, the experience of the marginalized group will not mirror your own. That doesn’t diminish your own experiences or your struggles, it just means they’ve had pain and struggle that is different. the courts, I thought this major victory was the end of the fight for equity – but I soon learned it wasn’t. Through my involvement at the University and subsequent involvement in PCOA’s LGBTQI+ programming, I learned that the issues that people who identify as LGBTQI+ face are pervasive and often institutional. Through speaking with friends and family who recently identified as being LGBTQI+, I learned that there were many aspects of their lives effected by their identity. These include having to find supportive employers, having

Gathering in Himmel Park ; third Saturday; 10–11:30am; in-person Walk and Roll - Enjoy an outdoor activity with friendly people; third Tuesday; time will vary; in-person And finally, make sure you stay engaged. In whatever way you can, being engaged is critical for our society to affirm marginalized and underrepresented people. Engagement could mean joining a club or group to have more LGBTQI+ friends, giving your business to LGBTQI+ owned businesses, donating to charitable organizations with a supportive mission, or showing up for advocacy efforts. The work cannot just be done by our friends and family who identify as LGBTQI+, it requires us all to participate, listen, and lean into discomfort and growth. I know together, we can do it! by. That’s okay so long as you apologize and can move on. Apologies will be common, but it is important to know how to apologize. Say you’re sorry one time and move forward. No one wants to be a burden, and the person who corrected you is just trying to make sure you know their preferences – not trying to humiliate you. So don’t dwell. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Any sort of change is difficult, and often being an ally means that we need to challenge our own views and norms of the world. That’s hard and uncomfortable! Rather than instinctively fighting against the discomfort, lean into it. Ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable and begin to view your discomfort as an opportunity to learn and grow.

There are more events each month. Stay tuned in on the website.

Page 30 | July 2022, Never Too Late

Pima Council on Aging

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