Ageing: sexuality matters

Ageing: sexuality matters

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BALL A WONDERFUL CELEBRATION – Gordon Wilson.

BALL A WONDERFUL CELEBRATION – Gordon Wilson.

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AUSTRALIAN Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs will be a keynote speaker at next month’s third national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Ageing and Aged Care Conference in Melbourne.

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AUSTRALIAN Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs will be a keynote speaker at next month’s third national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Ageing and Aged Care Conference in Melbourne.

The emeritus professor will be joined by a string of high profile speakers, including dancer, actor, choreographer and director Noel C Tovey, Victoria’s Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Ro Allen, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society founding member Emeritus Professor Anne Mitchell, Celebrating Ageing director Catherine Barrett, and Transgender Victoria educator Brenda Appleton.

The conference will explore how aged and disability services can acknowledge the lives of older gender diverse people and deliver truly inclusive services.

Over both days, older LGBTI people and those who care for them will come together with aged and disability experts and service providers to share experiences and ideas, talk policy and practice, and connect over the common goal of promoting and achieving healthy pathways.

The conference is presented by the GLHV (formerly known as Gay and Lesbian Helath Victoria) ageing program and Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care, both part of the Sexual Health and Ageing Program at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. Other organisations involved include Carers Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, Living Positive Victoria, the National LGBTI Health Alliance and the Victorian AIDS Council.

  • Registrations www.latrobe.edu.au and search for LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference. More details, (03) 9479-8760.

Celebrating sexuality

The premiere of The Coming Back Out Ball, created by All the Queens Men, will be a feature of next month’s Victorian Seniors Festival.

The ball, which includes dinner and drinks, is designed to be a spectacular social event that celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex elders.

Australian arts icon Robyn Archer will host the night, with performers including Carlotta, Deborah Cheetham, Toni Lalich, Gerry Connolly and Lois Weaver.

Organisers say the ball was inspired by pioneering research revealing that some elders conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access aged care services, because they do not feel safe.

They have lived through enormous upheaval, including identifying as LGBTI, leading to imprisonment, enforced medical cures, loss of employment and rejection by family and friends.

Many of this generation are faced with the prospect of going back into the closet or risking being deprived of companionship or quality care when they most need it.

The ball will be held in Melbourne Town Hall on October 7 from 6pm. Tickets are $100 or $50 senior concession. Admission for LGBTI elders 65 and over is free.

Gordon’s ready to have a ball

Gordon Wilson came out as gay to his parents in 1950 when he was 14.

“It was never an issue with my parents,” he said. “I told my dad I wanted to learn to be a ballet dancer. When he said people would call me a sissy, I said I am, so what? Often I wouldn’t tell people but if they asked me, I’d be honest.”

Gordon moved to Victoria in 1958. “Homosexuals were still considered criminals then – it didn’t change until the 1980s. Life in Melbourne was wonderful, there was a great gay community here.”

Gordon was with his first partner for more than 17 years, and has been in his current relationship for 11 years. He has also seen homophobia: he’s been bashed and verbally abused.

Gordon is secretary/treasurer of Vintage Men, an organisation that supports the social and recreational needs of older gay men.

He worked with the Victorian Aids Council for more than 22 years and has co-hosted a program on radio JOY-FM for more than 10 years. He regularly attends the LGBTI Elders Dance Club, held monthly at Fitzroy Town Hall.

“I think the Coming Back Out Ball is a fantastic idea,” he said. “It will be a wonderful celebration.”

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