- Written by Jessica Riel
- Published: 08 October 2015
The Rainbow Elders (formerly LGBTIQA Elders), with support from Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Barton’s Angels, Boswell’s Books, Elmer’s Store, and The Rendezvous, will host “On Being Transgender and Growing Older: Personal, Health, and Legal Perspectives,” with a panel-inspired discussion and time for connecting with others, on Thursday, October 15, 2015, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls, Mass. Refreshments will be served.
There is no charge for this event, but donations are welcomed and will be used to cover expenses for this and future Rainbow Elders events.
RSVP online or call 413-773-5555x2215 or 978-544-2259x2215. This is a drug, alcohol, and fragrance free event.
Panelists from around the region
“On Being Transgender and Growing Older” panelists will include transgender (trans) individuals, Brianna Harris and Louis Mitchell, who will share their personal stories. Harris is a 54-year-old transsexual woman living in Jacksonville, Vt. She works for Mount Snow Resort and was the first openly transgender person in a nationwide company of nine resorts. She is active with UMass Stonewall Center and Greater Boston PFLAG on behalf of transgender people and rights.
Louis Mitchell lives in Springfield, Mass., and is blessed to be surrounded and supported by amazing family, both traditional and chosen. Mitchell serves as an assistant minister, focusing on adult faith formation and social justice, at South Congregational Church and is the Community Engagement Coordinator for TransFaith.
Attorney Mason Dunn will speak about legal issues. Atty. Dunn is Executive Director of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and Co-Chair of Freedom Massachusetts. Mason is a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, is a 2012 graduate of the Daniel Webster Honors Scholars Program at University of New Hampshire School of Law, and has advocated for transgender rights for over ten years nationwide.
Healthcare professional Dr. Matthew Spitzer will speak about health concerns for members of the transgender community with attention to the aging process. Dr. Spitzer is a general endocrinologist at Valley Medical Group and sees patients in Greenfield and Easthampton, Mass. He trained as an endocrine fellow at Boston Medical Center, has published on testosterone therapy in men, and has a special interest in hormone replacement therapy and gender medicine.
More about the experience of older trans individuals
As they age, trans individuals face unique concerns. While there are services in place to help older adults age with dignity and grace, many service providers have not received cultural competency training to ensure that they treat all elders equally and without discrimination.
According to the website of SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders) USA, www.sageusa.org, “Many transgender older adults are not getting the support they need, and many are reluctant to seek services at all…. Transgender people report higher rates of disability, general poor health, depression, anxiety, loneliness and suicidal ideation. Thus, many transgender elders enter their later years with severe health concerns yet without the social and community supports necessary to address them.”
More about the Rainbow Elders
The Rainbow Elders Steering Committee of LifePath organizes quarterly events for LGBTIQA older adults and allies to assist in connecting LGBTIQ elders socially to each other, to connect them and their allies to service providers in the community, and to provide them with educational and informational resources.
To sign up to receive emails with future Rainbow Elders event information and relevant news and information, click here.
Q=Questioning & Queer
A=Asexual & Allies