Southeast Regional Seminar 2011, Active Aging for All : Older and LGBT – Wednesday the 9th of November, Langtons Hotel, 67 John street, Kilkenny
The Programme began with Bernadette Smyth: LGBT Diversity Development Worker – South East giving the introduction to the day. Edie Parsons- LGBT Activist & Vanessa Lacey – Teni shared their experience of Aging in Ireland. Eddie described his coming out as the day he was born though 66 years on the planet he considers himself 12 years old.
Vanessa described the unique transformation of transgendered people. The visible change, physical change & change of name & legal documents.
Dr Vera Sheridan, Faculty of /Humanities & Social Services and Dr Mel Duffy, School of Nursing & Human sciences described why their research on Lesbian Lives is important and what can be achieved from the study. Examining assumptions and exploring how such can be overcome.
Health services assume:
“That you’re heterosexual. They never even think that possibly you might be something else and they could phrase their questions in aslightly different way just leave it a little bit more open. And like maybe if they had that openess then you might be more comfortable saying it” [Nárbflaith]
Marie Louise of ‘co wexford Age Equality network’ described how Wexford is a ‘very rural county’. How the network is an umbrella organisation with representatives from older people groups across the county works. Under the auspices of the Wexford Local Development. There is strength in numbers and our aim is to work together, in an organised way, to insure that older people have a say in the services that they use and the policies/ decisions that affect them.
Denise Croke from ‘Older Voices Kildare’, gave the example of an older Lesbian with a disability-pick your discrimination? Denise reminded us that older people are sexual beings too. She requested that we not approach the group as a homogenous group. Or be considered to be lesser than the wider community. Treating everyone the same creates inequality. We should aim to have the same service for all but geared to individual needs.
James O’Connor from ‘Open Heart House’, described how the Aids holocaust of the 80’s is not off the agenda even if society is allowing it to disappear. The social stigma must be challenged through peer support. 83% of HIV positive people experience self stigma. People have moved countries because of it. So many dilemmas when an HIV positive person meets a potential partner should they share their status straight away? Does the local doctor know the medication pharmacology of diabetes and HIV medication? James then suggested that groups, organisations develop a top 10 things they should know about HIV.
The seminar concluded with a question & answer session followed by discussion amongst the audience.