A very important point that was brought to my attention was that gay men were going back in the closet once if they were living in senior community centers. They were scared of the prejudice that they may be facing by those who may be taking care of them and other seniors. This is a major concern for members of the LGBTQ when going to medical professionals. It is difficult to feel safe or unjudged when going to medical professionals, this is crucial because primary care is where many health concerns are addressed and if a person doesn't feel safe in disclosing information or going to the general practitioner this could have physical and mental health consequences.
We shifted to politics and news. The gentleman that I talked to mentioned how the news can be so exhausting to process a lot of the things that have been occurring under this administration have affected the LGBTQ community. He mentioned how his method for coping with this is seeing the news, acknowledging it, them moving on because it is not healthy to ruminate on things that you can not change. We briefly discussed the topic of abortion since it was just announced that Alabama banned the majority of abortions. He mentioned how he can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a women right now in those states. As I reflect on this comment, I think it’s really heartening to think that across generations you can find solidarity and support.
The senior I talked to mention how in the past being gay was considered a mental illness. And how times have really changed but there is still a lot to do. Some questions I was asked were “How accepting were students of LGBTQ folk in my high school” and “How do you think you family would react if a child were to come out as Gay/Lesbian”. Coming from a conservative part of San Diego there was a lot of prejudice against LGBTQ folks. Coming from a Mexican background there is still a lot of intolerance of LGBTQ folks. I think times are changing, and it it not from everyone. One thing that really stuck with that this senior said is that when things are said that are not alright we need to speak up. Perhaps not to change minds because it can be very difficult to change someone's opinion but to let people know that you do not agree and that you do not accept intolerance.
There are a lot of things that we can learn from hearing out those in other communities and if there is one thing I will make sure for the LCS program it will be this conversation.