Gay elders need our support; plus the new app that will have you woofing for more
December 19, 2011 | 10:49 am
(Updated: February 25, 2013 | 5:58 pm)
While discussing my grandparents’ end of life plans, I discovered my grandfather has two burial plots with his name on them. His father
purchased the first. The second was purchased for him and my grandmother when my uncle passed away. But let’s turn our attention to the prior.
It turns out, my grandfather told me during my Thanksgiving holiday in Pueblo, his own father purchased plots for the entire family when then-Bishop Willging made a proclamation that no Catholic would receive a proper burial if they were not buried at Imperial Cemetery.
Years later Bishop Willging was buried at Roselawn Cemetery.
“Oh, was my dad pissed,” my grandfather laughed.
“He must have received kick backs, huh?” I asked.
“Oh you better believe it,” Grandpa said. “They didn’t call Willging ‘Little Caesar’ for nothing.”
No, this column is not about the Catholic Church’s years of corruption or abuse toward gays and lesbians. My grandparents, while loving and accepting of homosexuality, might never talk to me again if I were to bash their church. That’s for them to do.
This is about something near and dear to my hearts: LGBT elders.
Like the grandparents we’ve known for our entire lives, our LGBT elders have seen things. They’ve witnessed events, hell, some of them even participated in, dare I say made, history.
These groups of individuals were there at Stonewall, the Denver Gay Revolt of 1973, the formation of Colorado AIDS Project, lived through the six years of the Amendment 2 court fight. Each wrinkle and grey hair tells a story.
And while they were there for each twist and turn in our LGBT history, they were also there when blacks were integrated into white schools, when President John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were shot, when the oil business boomed and then burst in Colorado.
I was lucky enough to be invited to The GLBT Community Center’s men’s coffee group the week after Thanksgiving. While it seems I did most of the talking (about Out Front Colorado), I was able to get some insight into some of what many of them are dealing with on a daily basis.
While most are still independent and living on their own or with their partners, they aren’t able to take care of their daily chores like they once used to. One man pointed out he could use help carrying in the dog food he buys in bulk at Costco. Another said he would love someone to help walk his dog during the early morning hours.
Some have lived their entire lives in the closet and are freshly out. Others have been trailblazers. But now they all face the same problems: there are few rights for gay and lesbian partners in Colorado, especially dealing with Medicare and Medicaid. And when these men went to work, same-sex spousal benefits were largely unheard of. And there’s no way to transfer wealth if one half of the partnership is to die.
There are still no protections for spouses in nursing homes. In some instances, same-sex spouses are being charged double what a heterosexual couple is charged at care facilities because they don’t recognize them as the same.
But there’s hope. The Center’s elder program, SAGE of the Rockies, is working on finding solutions in Colorado to several of these problems. And The Center, along with Denver’s Primetimers, offer much needed outlets and time to socialize with one another.
Us whippersnappers are also invited, said The Center’s Juli Weiser German. While the men’s (and women’s) coffee groups are a part of the SAGE program for elders, anyone can participate.
The men’s group meets at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and the women’s group meets at 10 a.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
The Center is also offering a variety of other programs for elders on writing, art and care giving. There’s also a group that gets together for breakfast and opera when The Metropolitan Opera Series is playing at the United Artist Theater at the Denver Pavilions, Weiser German said.
Once upon a time in, in a relationship long-long ago, I remember having a conversation about our grandparents. “There’s nothing like a grandparent’s love,” he said.
He was right.
I encourage all of you to stop by The Center for one of the coffee groups and spend a little quality time with our gay grandparents. l
If all the holiday parties are causing you to lose sleep, you might want to check out Osmotics Cosmeceuticals. The beauty
corporation is currently offering three of its non-surgical alterative creams for $78. First there’s the Crease-Less cream. It works to smooth skin lines around the eyes, mouth forehead and brows. Then there’s the Under Eye Rejuvenator that is clinically proven to reduce dark circles and under eye puffiness. Also included in the package is Lipofill. The advanced formula features two technologies to increase facial volume while tightening and toning facial contours. The normal retail value is $130. Online at http://osmotics.com
Gay History 101
In the Dec. 9, 1983, issue of Out Front Colorado it was reported that a second meeting between the Denver Police Department – now under the Peña administration – and representatives of the gay and lesbian community had met to iron out some issues including “lewd fondling,” discriminatory behavior inside the department and the VICE squad. In attendance were the Manager of Safety John Simonet, Chief Thomas Coogan, the GLBT Community Center’s Executive Director Carol Lease and attorneys Gerald Gerash and Paul Hunter. While the LGBT community is no longer victim of ambiguous laws and sting operations, the Denver Police Department has been for the better part of three years subject of multiple controversies including police brutality. Fast forward to 2011: Denver’s got a new mayor, new police chief and new manager of safety. What will this mean for the LGBT community?
Only time will tell.
On a recent trip to the Wrangler’s Beer Bust, a bear friend of mine told me he was upset that the “stand and model” crowd from Jr.’s had started to congregate at 17th and Logan more and more. Personally, I didn’t notice a difference in the Sunday crowd, but I’m just there for the beer. Now, evidently the same
“problem” is happening on our smartphones. It turns out: GROWLr is the new Scruff. I was poking around the latter social app during a frigid weekend with no luck of striking up a conversation with anyone. It was then brought to my attention that Scruff was for “pretty boy otters,” not bears like myself. And all this time I thought Scruff was the Grindr for bears! Leave it to the gays to have a social hierarchy of body types and not tell me. l