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Coming Back Out: Elder LGBTI+

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Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) people remember an era of state-sanctioned stigma and discrimination that might be hard for younger people to fathom. It wasn’t until 1997 that sex between men, for example, was decriminalised in every Australian state and territory.

For many older LGBTI+ people, the world they live in today is drastically different to the world they inhabited in the past. Getting older can sometimes mean both a feeling of invisibility and, conversely, an increased sense of surveillance. For LGBTI+ people, those propositions can pose a particular set of problems.

How can we respect the diverse sexual orientations of older Australians? How can LGBTI+ elders know and assert their rights as they navigate the complex, confusing and sometimes intimidating aged care system? And how important is visibility of LGBTI+ older people – for individuals and for the broader Australian population?

Find out in this discussion hosted by Tristan Meecham, and featuring artist and activist Lois Weaver, Val's LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care coordinator Pauline Crameri, Boston-based LGBT ageing researcher Bob Linscott and LGBTI elder Heather Morgan.


Portrait of Tristan Meecham

Tristan Meecham

Tristan Meecham is an artist who facilitates creative frameworks that enable social transformation; connecting community, audience and artists together in events that transcend the everyday. He is the Director of All The Queens Men.

All The Queens Men create spectacular theatrical and participatory arts experiences. Established with Bec Reid, All The Queens Men champion social equality, celebrating diverse community through creative action and in exciting art contexts.

Portrait of Heather Morgan

Heather Morgan

Heather Morgan retired in 2017 as team leader at The Positive Living Centre, part of the Victorian Aids Council, where she worked since 2008. In 1991, she was a founding member of Switchboard – a confidential telephone counselling service for Melbourne's queer community. Following this, she joined Aidsline, where she worked for 14 years.

Heather is thrilled to be recognized as an LGBTI elder by the organisers of The Coming Back Out Ball in 2017. In her retirement, Heather looks forward to officiating the occasional wedding in her new role as an Authorised Celebrant (once marriage equality is finally recognised in Australia) – but mostly looks forward to playing poker to supplement her income. She is better known as ‘Diamond Lil’ by the professional card sharks.

Portrait of Lois Weaver

Lois Weaver

Lois Weaver is an artist, activist and part time professor of Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary, University of London. She was co-founder of Spiderwoman Theater, WOW and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop in London. She has been a writer, director and performer with Peggy Shaw and Split Britches since 1980.

Lois was named a Senior Fellow by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in 2014. She is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and a Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellow for 2016–18.

Portrait of Bob Linscott

Bob Linscott

Bob Linscott is Assistant Director of the LGBT Aging Project based at the Fenway Institute, Boston, USA.

Bob is a member of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Aging, which is the first state wide commission on LGBT aging issues, and a member of the LAIN council, the American Society on Aging’s LGBT Aging Issues Network.

He has also authored a ground breaking curriculum used to train council on Aging staff, volunteers and consumers on LGBT aging issues as well as a regular column on LGBT aging in Boston Spirit magazine. He has conducted training and speaking engagements all across the USA on LGBT aging and was invited to the White House in 2015 for the first White House Summit on LGBT Elder Housing.

Portrait of Pauline Crameri

Pauline Crameri

Pauline Crameri is the co-ordinator of Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care, part of GLHV, at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne. Val’s is a Victorian statewide programme working to increase the visibility, health and quality of care for older LGBTI people, and includes the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference, to be held on 5–6 October 2017 in Melbourne in partnership with the Coming Back Out Ball.

Pauline has worked in a range of human services settings and programmes for the past 30 years, and has over 15 years’ experience in community aged care and aged care planning in local government, including practical experience in LGBTI service development culminating in the achievement of the first Rainbow Tick accreditation for the service.

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