Aging With Pride is a weekly virtual discussion group for LGBTQ2S+ seniors and their allies held weekly on Thursday mornings, 11 am to noon. Presently the format is via ZOOM only but when public health rules permit we hope to add an in-person coffee club at SAGE. The program is cosponsored by Edmonton Pride Seniors Group (EPSG), Pride Centre of Edmonton (PCE) and Sage Seniors Association (SAGE). Closed captioning and signing are available.
The speakers for January 2022 are as follows:
Jan 3. Ron Byers will speak on Edmonton queer history and its importance
Jan 10. Richard Boulet will speak on mental health and creativity
Jan 17. Lorelle Whittingham from SAGE will discuss programs and services offered by them.
Jan 24. Duncan Mills will give an overview of Prime Timers, a group that is focussed on enriching the social lives of older gay/bi men.
The February and March schedules are in progress; confirmed speakers include Lindy Pratch from Edmonton Public Library, MLA’s Janis Irwin and Lori Sigurdson, Laurie Winder from The Ashbourne, Kristy Harcourt and Joan Whitecalf, and Dr Michael Marshall from The Wellness Centre as well as speakers from Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and ASPECC (Alberta Sex Positive Education and Community Centre).
Aging with Pride was established in an effort to reduce social isolation among LGBTQ2S+ seniors in the Edmonton area. Social isolation has always been a concern for seniors and has only become more urgent in the pandemic environment. EPSG (together with organizations in Saskatoon and Winnipeg) was successful in obtaining federal funding to set up programs which might ameliorate the situation for LGBTQ2S+ seniors. Each city chose its own unique approach. Edmonton first attempted a collaboration with South Side Primary Care Network’s Seniors Centres without Walls, a telephone-based program. Despite enthusiastic support from the sponsors the program remained poorly subscribed and has been replaced by the present AwP which is intended to have both on-line and in-person components. We were inspired by the successful Under the Rainbow program championed at PCE and SAGE by the late Jeff Bovee. Public health restrictions preclude in-person meetings at the moment but we plan to establish them at SAGE when we can do so.
The ZOOM format has proved sucessful with an average of around 15 to 20 participants, many of whom participate in the discussion period. We have had regular participation from Saskatoon and occasional guests from as far away as Texas! We thank our first cadre of speakers—Michael Phair, Dawn Carter, Blair McKinnon, Jackie Foord and Murray Billett, Georgette Reed, John McDougall, Rob Browatzke and Eric Storey.
The program is overseen by a core group from the three sponsoring organizations—Jan Schmitz, Larry Jewell and Eric Storey from EPSG; Dawn Carter from PCE and Rachel Tassone from SAGE. Kim Loreen at PCE is our indispensable support person. We welcome your comments and questions.