We wanted to update you on our progress since our last newsletter! On January 10, 2022 we became federally incorporated under the Canada Not-for Profit Corporations Act as Edmonton Pride Seniors Group Society! This is very important because we need to be an incorporated society to be eligible for various housing grants from CMHC, the City of Edmonton and to apply for land etc.
Agreement with a key Partner: Garneau
Another exciting development-we are now close to completion of a MOU (Memo of Understanding) between EPSG and one of our wonderful key partners, Garneau United Assisted Living Place (GUALP. A MOU is a key partnership agreement about collaboration and how we move forward to work together. Garneau owns and operates The Ashbourne, a 110 unit seniors facility in Garneau. They became an Affirming facility in 2017 which means they support a Community where people are welcomed regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification and faith. The Pride Flag is displayed proudly in their lobby and they now have a substantial library of gay and lesbian literature!
Aging with Pride, our weekly (Thursdays 11 am to noon) conversation group, is now 6 months old and thriving. Our meetings to date have been via ZOOM but we hope pandemic rules will permit us to add an in-person component at Sage (15 Sir Winston Churchill Square) in May or June. We will retain the online component so that both speakers and audience will be able to choose the format which best suits them.
We have an exciting lineup of confirmed presenters. On April 7 Liz Massiah and Michael Phair will have a conversation about community building followed on April 14 by two speakers from Saskatoon who will outline their initiatives for GLBTQ2S+ seniors in Saskatchewan. The final two presentations that month will address important legal documents for seniors with lawyer Erin Lafuente (April 21) and elder abuse with an expert from Sage (April 28).
On March 8th the Edmonton Queer History Project launched its Edmonton Queer History Map Tour. Written and worked on by Dr. Kris Wells, Darrin Hagen and Michelle Lavoie and using research gathered by Rob Browatzke and the many memories of two Edmonton Pride Seniors Group members… myself and Ron Byers, they printed a large fold out map with 27 locations that were important for the 2SLGBTQ+ community primarily from 1970-2000.
In addition to the walking map, photos, videos, personal stories, articles and other historical information of all 27 sites that describe the community’s involvement in the Downtown on the Project’s website https://EdmontonQueerHistoryProject.ca are now on line.
Maps are available at the following locations or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copies. Do check out the website!
Available at: Evolution Wonderlounge, Audrey’s Book Store, Citadel, EPL (all branches), Art Gallery of Alberta, Glass Bookshop, The Quiltbag, Tix on Square, MacEwan Bookstore, Pride Centre of Edmonton, Edmonton Downtown Business Association, deVine Wines, and others.
Our Edmonton 2SLGBTQ+ community is culturally diverse. How do we find compromise in a minority democratic community that has such differing lives, skills, and values? Promising initiatives occasionally implode. The exploration of our similarities and differences is fundamental to developing a stronger community. How might our local 2SLGBTQ+ Seniors’ Community be even more accepting, more harmonious, more inclusive?
I love Edmonton. Downtown… with all its diverse beauty… glitters with dusty contrasts. The Hotel McDonald still perches on the edge of the North Saskatchewan like an ancient castle.
Coming out as a gay man in major sports leagues has long been a barrier left unbroken until Luke Prokop, then under contract with the Nashville Predators, felt he would be his best on the ice when he could bring his whole self to the game and to his life. In October the Edmonton Oil Kings acquired Luke in a trade with the Calgary Hitmen.
On April 9, 2022, the Edmonton Oil Kings will hold their first Pride Night in a 2pm afternoon game with the Red Deer Rebels at Rogers Place. To help celebrate the day the Oil Kings organization reached out to several Edmonton 2SLGBTQ+ organizations to be involved and benefit through selling limited edition Oil Kings Pride T-shirts, an exclusive Oil Kings Pride themed mystery puck and auctioning off game-used Pride hockey sticks.
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Sherry McKibben, Robert Smith, myself and others came together in 2013 to discuss issues and concerns that older persons in our community have—programs, services, centres and housing. The result was the eventual formation, later in 2013, of a volunteer group of Edmontonians dedicated to finding ways to improve the quality of life of older members of our community. Unfortunately both Sherry and Robert have died in the interim, but Edmonton Pride Seniors Group Society (EPSGS) has become both strong and active, as you will read in this newsletter. At present we are partnering with Sage Edmonton and Garneau United Assisted Living Place (GUALP) to assist us in moving ahead with our most ambitious project to date, a major housing initiative for members of our community and our allies.
In 2013 it was apparent to EPSG that much work needed to be done to improve the lives of older 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors living in Edmonton senior residences and long term care facilities.
Our greatest fear was community members were being forced back into the closet, in order to live ‘safely’ within these senior residential spaces. By 2015, we’d conducted our first survey and heard back from 141 community members. We heard about their preferences for the type of housing and services they would want for themselves during their older years.
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.
In order to fulfill our commitments, EPSG relies on the time and talents of its members. Some of our work requires talent beyond our capacity. Currently, we’re making communication commitments with EPSG News. If you have graphic arts and/or social media content writing expertise, we may have a role for you. EPSG has also recently begun planning its housing capital campaign.
Work is progressing on Edmonton Pride Seniors Group’s safe, inclusive housing for 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors, their friends and allies! 212 members of our community told us they don’t want to have to worry about going back into the closet! They want a place to live comfortably, safely with people who understand their needs & life experience.
Given the limited availability of land in the Oliver neighbourhood, we now have a consultant carefully looking at a number of potential sites across Edmonton. Of course, we will ensure any potential site has the features that you indicated were important to you- close to LRT and bus transit, a walkable neighbourhood, close to important services like grocery stores, pharmacies etc.
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