Davina Kotulski

Calling All Guppies & Luppies?

Filed By Davina Kotulski | January 21, 2012 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: BOOM community, LGBT urban professionals, Matthias Hollwich, retirement homes

BOOM-new-aging.jpgHey all you gay and lesbian urban professionals, have you heard of dot429? And can you guess what the 429 stands for? I'll tell you at the end of this post.

Dot429 is a professional networking community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our allies in major metropolitan areas. They connect LGBTA professionals online (like LinkedIn) and they host cocktail parties, fundraisers, and networking brunches. You can find Dot429 events in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago.

Last week I attended their Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser which included a presentation on the BOOM community. Heard of BOOM before? Nope, me neither. However, if you are in to the intersection of architecture and LGBT retirement issues you would have loved it. It's actually quite ingenious.

New Aging

As you may know from reading my books on marriage equality, most retirement homes are run by religious fundamentalists who have strict policies on living situations within retirement homes. These restrictions and the faith-based atmosphere of many retirement homes, often force LGBT seniors back into the closet or into separate apartments within the same retirement complex.

I believe this is a great indignity to our lavender seniors. Architect, Matthias Hollwich, must have felt the same way. Hollwich studied architecture and aging at the University of Pennsylvania and decided he wanted to create something, shall we say, fabulous for LGBT seniors! He is calling it BOOM, since it is directed at the baby boomer generation, and it is a $250 million retirement development planned for the Palm Springs area.

Hollwich is calling this approach "New Aging" and what is unique about the proposed BOOM community is that it is not restricted to seniors. Hollwich found that the traditional notions of "family" are too limiting for the LGBT community and decided to create a community that reflected the diversity of LGBT families. The BOOM community will be open to multiple-generations and equations of family. There will also be a hotel on site, so you can come visit your friends and family in this desert oasis and not have to sleep on the couch.

BOOM is still in the creation process so if you'd like to see more or give them feedback, they'd appreciate it.. As a social activist, I would like to see more LGBT friendly retirement homes and communities that are accessible to a variety of income levels. However, I think that BOOM is a great start to changing the retirement community landscape and I can always get excited about a community in which cars are superfluous!

P.S. 4-2-9 spells gay on your telephone! Cute, huh?

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