Senior Forum’s May-June issue will be snail-mailed only to persons requesting a printed copy by calling 520-312-8923. If you know of an LGBTQ+ older adult who lacks computer access and would like to receive the newsletter, please help us spread the word by letting them know they can phone us to receive the printed hard copy.
Lambda Legal wins class action fight on behalf of surviving same-sex spouses denied equal access to survivor’s benefits due to unconstitutional marriage bans. “This is a tremendous victory for many surviving same-sex spouses nationwide who have been locked out of critical benefits because they were unlawfully barred from marriage for most of their relationships,” said Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn.”Many same-sex couples were in loving, long-term, and committed relationships for decades – and they shouldn’t be treated as strangers in death simply because they were unable to marry for most of that time…”
A new HRC report released last week showing that LGBTQI+ communities of color have been economically devastated by the pandemic joins a growing list of studies showing disproportionate impacts on queer communities across the spectrum, including threats to the survival of organizations and places vital to our interests.
by Joyce Bolinger
A longtime member and supporter of the LGBTQI+ community, Jo Schneider owns Tucson’s downtown La Cocina, known for its outdoor patio, eclectic cuisine, and live music. When Tucson Mayor Regina Romero closed restaurants March 17 to contain the spread of COVID-19, Jo began serving free food to out-of-work dishwashers, servers, entertainers, and others — “we don’t turn anyone away,” she says.
Since March 22, Jo has served about 80 free meals 3 times a week. She has donated free meals to TIHAN as well. Part of a non-profit Feeding Those who Feed Us, Jo is also a member of Too Soon Arizona, a group of small businesses who plan to delay re-opening for safety concerns.
by Joyce Bolinger
Early this spring, a nightmarish scenario threatened local agencies who
serve people experiencing homelessness: the virus could rampage through shelters, meal lines, and outdoor “camps,” costing many lives and accelerating its spread throughout Tucson. »Meet Beth Carey
It’s almost hardwired into the American psyche to begin summer with a Memorial Day road trip to a beach, a lake, or someplace rustic to start the season with rest, relaxation, and mischief. Now that Arizona’s COVID-19 stay at home orders have been lifted, how can you resist the temptation to hit the road?
Ready or not, Arizona, the nation, and the world are starting to reopen after two months of pandemic shutdowns. So, when will it really be safe for LGBTQI+ older adults to venture out again? A University of Massachusetts biology professor offers some of the clearest information yet on how COVID-19 infections spread. Combine that with reliable infection rate data, and you can make some well-informed decisions for yourself (with additional helpful advice from The Atlantic and SAGE).
By Bruce Hyland
Photo credit: Tomcat Enterprises Photography© James Scott P. Pignatella
Kevin is holing up with his dearly beloved (Richard Wegner) and cooking food and sharing it with a couple other households. They are playing cards, games and working puzzles. He’s anxious, but very grateful to be with his husband through this. »Meet Kevin Maxey
Southern Arizona Senior Pride announces ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: THE SENIOR LGBTQI+ MEETING.
Meetings will take place via Zoom, Mondays, 7-8pm. The first meeting will be on Monday, May 18.
This is an open meeting, available to all persons who are interested in the AA program of recovery. The format is Step Meeting (12×12), reading and discussing selections from the AA publication, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
by Bruce Hyland
Photo credit: Joyce Bolinger
Tom sometimes feels impatient, uncertain, nervous, agitated, but always grateful that he’s safe with his husband in their home. He has a sense that life will be changing. One aspect, given his nonprofit expertise, is how the performing arts will change. How will they survive? How will they adapt? He’s pleased to see pollution levels come down dramatically, even with it only being having been a short time when ships, planes, polluting vehicles, etc. made changes that allowed this. »Meet Tom Buchanan
Senior Pride is delighted to resume our regular monthly Speaker Series via Zoom this coming Tuesday, May 12 at 2pm with two great speakers from Pima Council on Aging: Sarah Bahnson, LGBTQ Community Liaison, and Jeri Morrison, Caregiver Support Group and Training Coordinator. Their topic will be Celebrating Older Americans Month.
by Bruce Hyland
Photo credit: Daniel Snyder
Brad is a life-long advocate for those who are less advantaged. He is a musician and lawyer retired from the Office of the Pima County Attorney. Today, Brad is pleased to act as attorney with Homicide Survivors. About the COVID-19 pandemic, he says, “We older LGBTQ+ have hard-won training to deal with this. We know how to survive a plague. .. Who else has been through this, but us?”
»Meet Brad Holland
Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey extended Arizona’s stay-at-home order until May 15, but this week, he has been moving faster than expected to reopen retail, restaurants, and hair salons. These moves come despite a continuing rise in new cases in Phoenix, though new Tucson cases are on the downswing. Meanwhile nursing home deaths prompt the governor to impose new reporting rules, Pima suicides continue at a high rate attributable to the COVID-19 crisis, and older Americans are exhibiting new, different symptoms that are easy to miss.
Today’s COVID-19 Update covers all this plus new resource roundups from some of the nation’s biggest and most diverse elder advocacy organizations.
by Bruce Hyland
Photo credit: Joyce Bolinger
Lola is busy with projects and focusing on being happy. She goes out for walks, being mindful on those treks of the beauty around her. “Of course I’ve had bumps in the road and hit boulders in life. But I learned to deal with things. My goal is to be happy. When I hit a dip, I look inside myself to see what’s really going on. It’s very important for us to know ourselves…” »Meet Lola Lai Jong
In the seven weeks since the World Health Organization (WH0) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, few things have been more impressive than the outpouring of caring resources to help us cope with its consequences. Since SoAZ Senior Pride published its first roundup of resources especially targeted to LGBTQ+ elders on March 26, many new resources have come online every day.
Today’s COVID-19 Update covers some of the newest local resources that have become available to help with the devastating economic impacts from business shutdowns designed to prevent the spread of this deadly new virus.
On April 29th, Netflix releases A Secret Love, a new documentary that follows the remarkable story of a lesbian couple, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, who kept their relationship secret for the first 65 years that they were together.
Though Donahue played as a catcher in All-American Girls Professional Baseball League — the women’s pro sports organization that later inspired the 1992 film A League of Their Own — the league’s queer history has only recently been uncovered. “We always wore dresses, makeup, the whole thing, ” Donahue explains in the trailer. “Anybody who was not gay, they simply didn’t know.”
The COVID-19 crisis in the United States has upset the lives of everyone, and may especially challenge those in Arizona who are LGBTQ and ages 55 years and older.
We invite you to share your experiences through this brief online survey of 52 questions about COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, protective behaviors, and how the March 30th governor’s order to stay home affects your mental and physical health. The survey requires about 20 minutes to complete. Your answers will be anonymous.
In this time of enforced social distancing, I consider how LGBTQ+ seniors have so much to teach about solitude, since when we were coming of age, our existence was acknowledged only in the most fearful ways. We learned the lessons of solitude—its trials, but also its rewards—as a survival strategy…
»Read uplifing meditation on solitude from Fenton Johnson, award-winning author of fiction and literary nonfiction who recently published his seventh book, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life
Looking forward to getting out of the house again when COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted? If you’re over 60, don’t get your hopes up just yet. The phased in reopening of workplaces and businesses touted by politicos includes a nasty little bombshell for seniors: we must continue “sheltering in place” for a minimum of 28 additional days! Same goes for anyone else vulnerable to COVID-19 complications due to specific medical conditions. Social isolation is the number one predictor of loneliness, and loneliness contributes to a litany of health problems, including a 45% increase in premature death.
“The constant emphasis on ‘death tolls’ and poorly understood data is exaggerating the risks, resulting in a constant state of duress. This type of exposure can be a tipping point for many who are already at risk of suicide and drug overdose.” – Mark Person
Are you being very smart and staying clear of others to avoid COVID-19 — but self-isolation is wearing thin and you miss connection with others? Senior Pride is introducing a new service we’re calling Connect Now! to offer folks short-term support via phone. For more info, call us at 520-312-8923 or send a message.
Chock full of encouraging, uplifting stories and suggestions relevant to our COVID era, the current issue of the Making Gay History newsletter includes these articles:
• Why We Do What We Do (Read how a gay student, stuck at home now with his homophobic parents finds life-sustaining support in the Making Gay History podcast series.)
• How Anger Galvanized Homophile Activist Shirley Willer
• The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen, OutHistory.org, “How To Survive Yet Another Plague”
• Virtual Singalongs with Marie’s Crisis (Piano bar Marie’s Crisis is a staple of gay life in New York.)
With great sadness, the GroundSpark team acknowledges the loss of the lesbian activist, Phyllis Lyon. In her 95 years, Phyllis lived a life of love and courage. As we mourn the loss of Phyllis, we also wish to highlight the incredible contributions she made so that we may all be inspired to live courageously, love deeply, and work together for a revolution. We are offering free streaming of One Wedding and…a Revolution (Debra Chasnoff and Kate Stilley, 2004, 19mins) in honor of Phyllis. Use the password RestInPower (note the capital letters!) to watch the film here.
Fearless lesbian activist icon Phyllis Lyon died peacefully at her home in San Francisco on April 9 of natural causes. She was 95. Few individuals contributed more to issues impacting LGBTQ, women’s, civil rights and the rights of elder Americans than Ms. Lyon and her partner of 58 years, Del Martin. Lyon and Martin were the first same-sex couple to marry in California on June 16, 2008. Weeks later, on August 27, 2008, Ms. Martin died in San Francisco, with Ms. Lyon at her side. Ms. Martin was 87.
Southern Arizona Senior Pride is trying to help home-bound seniors – which means ALL of us right now – find services we need by posting articles and links to Web resources of most importance to LGBTQ elders. But the COVID-19 situation is evolving so fast that the only reasonable chance you have of keeping up is on social media. If you aren’t already on Facebook, you need to sign up right now. Here’s why…
Southern Arizona Senior Pride volunteer Bruce Hyland interviewed Jill Koyama about how she is handling the unprecedented disruption in her professional and personal life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. »Meet Jill Koyama
Researchers at the University of Utah want to gain insight into barriers to care for members of the LGBTQ+ cancer community. If you or a loved one has undergone cancer treatment, or you are or have been a caregiver for an LGBTQ+ cancer patient, we need you! »MORE
Southern Arizona’s LGBTQ seniors represent a vast range of ethnic, linguistic and national identities. During the COVID-19 crisis, many of us need resources in a first language other than English or relevant to our root ethnic identities. In this article, we’ll provide you with links to diverse elder resources.
Federal social-distancing requirements extended to April 30th… $2 trillion stimulus package passed but individuals to wait three weeks for $1,200 checks… Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issues shelter-in place advisory until April 17th… Experts predict 200,000 Americans will die from COVID-19… Federal Reserve predicts unemployment rate will hit 32%…
These dire headlines say nothing about the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community. Late last week both the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Arizona hosted virtual town halls to look at the unique challenges this pandemic is bringing to our community and marshal resources we can turn to for help.
The isolation that Senior Pride battles so diligently in normal times is suddenly required of everyone. During this crisis, Senior Pride will be publishing COVID-19 UPDATES here in our news feed to help our community navigate this period safely.
It has been two weeks since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic and a week since Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued her emergency declaration shutting down all dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms and other gathering spots in the city. Many working older adults have been furloughed or lost their jobs as businesses close, some forever, due to the spread of a coronavirus that is most deadly to the most vulnerable among us. Meanwhile, medical facilities and other services we rely on are asking us to stay away.
We are reaching out to all of you with concern about isolation during this time of crisis. Self quarantine means isolating ourselves from friends, family and social gatherings. Senior Pride wants to offer support and suggestions to interrupt isolation. It is crucial that we take care of our mental health as well as our physical health. Those of us that live alone may need extra love and all of us will need to stay close to our support circles…
Our very own Lavina Tomer joined other unique voices sharing their personal narratives on the themes of Feminism, Intersectionality, Empowerment, Solidarity, Testimonio and Activism at the FIESTA Storytelling event earlier this year at Unscrewed Theater. It was hosted by WOSAC (The Women’s Studies Advocacy Council) to benefit the University of Arizona Department of Gender & Women’s Studies.
»Watch on YouTube
The Arizona Legislature is attacking transgender student athletes. On Thursday, February 20, 2020, the House Health and Human Services Committee voted to advance an egregious anti-transgender bill, HB 2706, out of the AZ House Health & Human Services Committee. While we were incredibly disappointed this invasive, harmful bill was passed through committee, this is not the end and we can stop this bill in the House, but your Representatives need to hear from you! Rush a message to your Representatives and ask them to vote NO on HB 2706! »Read about the proposed legislation at Equality AZ site
Tell Your Legislator – STOP HB 2706.
»Contact your legislator on the Human Rights Campaign website
Due to coronavirus precautions, Community Cares volunteers will not be visiting their recipients until it is safe to do so again. But we continue phoning and talking with recipients throughout the crisis.
Are you LGBTQ, 55+, homebound or isolated? Are you disabled of any age? Senior Pride’s Community Cares Program reaches out to people in our community by providing trained volunteers who will visit once a week to play cards, read aloud, write letters or call once a week for a phone visit. Volunteers can also provide information on LGBTQI services and resources. There is no charge for this service. Contact us at 520-351-2724 or email. Referrals are welcome and encouraged!
Be a Community Cares Volunteer!
For info about becoming a trained volunteer call 520-351-2724 or email
The Marist on Cathedral Square, an apartment community for seniors 62+ years old located in the heart of Tucson, is now leasing. BRAND NEW • affordable living • up to 875 square feet • major utilities included • membership to Armory Senior Center • near trolley stop • High-Speed Internet
More info: 602-285-1800 or email
Be on the lookout for telephone impersonation schemes that exploit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) reputation and authority. Fraudulent callers use threatening language and state that, due to improper or illegal activity with a citizen’s Social Security number or account, a citizen will be arrested or face other legal action or simply experience a suspension of retirement benefits, if the citizen fails to call a provided phone number to address the issue. This is a scam; citizens should not engage with these calls, not call the numbers and not provide any personal information.
The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, a family foundation based in Tucson founded in 1994, has approved a major grant of $25,000 to Senior Pride to join an initiative for end of life planning. Senior Pride is the only LGBTQ+ community organization to become a member of the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership…
»Read full post
The Wild Geese Foundation has awarded Senior Pride a grant of $5,000 as a major boost to building the organization’s capacity. In our application to the foundation, Senior Pride stated that the objectives are to begin a transition from a grassroots organization to a more formal one that will serve LGBTQ+ older adults for generations and to increase services.
»Read full post