Jesse Monteagudo

LGBT Grandparents Group: Still Going Strong

Filed By Jesse Monteagudo | March 31, 2015 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: grandparents, LGBT grandparents, same-sex parenting, senior citizens, senior issues, seniors, South Florida, Wilton Manors

wilton_manors.jpgTwo years ago, I wrote a piece about South Florida's LGBT Grandparents Group -- the first and, perhaps, still the only one of its kind.

The product of SunServe and other community organizations (Women In Network, PFLAG, the Pride Center and Women with Pride), the Grandparents Group held their first meetings at the Wilton Station clubhouse in Wilton Manors. At the meeting I attended, two dozen men and women gathered to enjoy a continental breakfast and talk about their grandchildren and their relationship with them and their partners.

Unlike other community groups, the LGBT Grandparents Group does not have a formal structure, and the participants like it that way. It does not have corporate papers, bylaws, or a board of directors. Also unlike other LGBT organizations, the Grandparents Group has virtual parity between men and women.

Two years later, the LGBT Grandparents Group is still going strong. Now a SunServe support group, the group meets on the third Saturdays of the month at SunServe, 2312 Wilton Drive, in Wilton Manors. It is a drop-in group, which means anyone can drop in by for a meeting without signing up or making a reservation.

Although Lisa Peters, SunServe's Director of Senior Services, was present, she was not in charge of the recent meeting I attended. Meetings are moderated by the grandparents themselves -- in this case by June Cashwell-Spivak, one of the founders of the Grandparents Group. (Her wife, Denise Cashwell-Spivak, was featured in the first GG article.) There were ten people present at the meeting, including some newcomers as well as some who were present at the meeting I attended in 2013. In one important respect, the LGBT Grandparents Group has not changed in its two years of existence: it still has gender parity, with women and men both equally represented.

gay_seniors.jpgAfter we introduced ourselves, the Grandparents Group meeting took the form of a free-wheeling discussion on a variety of topics. One man, a relative newcomer, talked about his troubled relationship with his many grandchildren and their parents. Two of the women discussed their recent health problems and their upcoming wedding, to which they invited those who were present. Going further afield, the grandparents talked about the controversy brought about by fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, whose comments about the surrogate children of gay parents brought upon them the wrath of Sir Elton John (among others). All in all, it was an interesting, productive meeting.

Though the LGBT Grandparents Group currently limits its activities to its monthly discussions, its members hope to expand its scope to include social events for its members and their families. Meanwhile, the monthly meetings seem to adequately satisfy and fulfill those who attend them.

Readers who are interested in the LGBT Grandparents Group should e-mail Lisa Peters at lpeters@sunserve.org or phone her at 954-764-5150, extension 103. The LGBT Grandparents Group is open to both biological and non-biological grandparents.

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