I became aware yesterday that this week in Los Angeles the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is sponsoring a major conference on "Diversity and Aging in the 21st Century". Among the featured participants is Amber Hollibaugh, Senior Strategist for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In welcoming remarks, AARP CEO Bill Novelli told those attending:
We are committed to ensuring that AARP promotes an inclusive environment, encourages a culture of mutual understanding and respect, and leverages the strength of our differences as we continually find better ways to serve our members and the nation. We must pay close attention to the particular needs of diverse populations that are aging along with general populations, so that there is no divide or disparity in the quality of the aging experience in America.
I'm pleased to the that AARP has undertaken this effort, and hope that it proves to be more than simple lip service to inclusiveness for senior members of the LGBT community. I'll admit I don't peruse the organization's monthly magazine which has arrived at my mailbox for a considerable number of years, but heretofore its coverage and acknowledgement of our existance hasn't exactly been overwhelming. And I've been aware from my involvement in fighting SJR7, the attempt to write marriage discrimmination into Indiana's Constitution, that AARP has shied away from taking a stand against this form of discrimination against senior gay and lesbian couples because of concerns of alienating a large section of its membership. Maybe this conference will signal the start of a change in that attitude.
As a member of the "66 to 75" group on the bar chart showing the age distribution of readership of Bilerico, dwarfed as it is by all you twenty, thirty, and forty-somethings, I'm keenly aware that for the vast majority of you, the issues concerning senior members of the GLBT community are likely far from being front and center. Time will, of course, change that, as it has for me and my peers. There's nothing like that first twinge of arthritis or a realization that the number of daily pills for this and that have began to grow faster than the fuzzy stuff on leftover pizza to jolt one into chronological reality.
I'll be keeping an eye on what comes out of the AARP conference this week, and letting you in on anything that might be of interest. Who knows, maybe when Bil Browning takes his next snapshot of Bilerico readership, that "66 to 75" bar will be a little higher and firmer.
Now, speaking of "higher and firmer", where did I put that damned Cialis prescription?