- Written by Barbara Bodzin, Executive Director
- Published: 28 May 2018
June is LGBT Pride Month - and community efforts to show pride all year abound
Nearly 50 years ago, at the end of June, 1969, in what came to be known as the Stonewall riots, a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals joined together to riot in protest of a police raid of the Stonewall Inn.
At that time in our nation’s history, LGBTIQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, aromantic, asexual, agender, and allied) persons faced a starkly repressive culture and justice system. The stories of the struggles people endured may come as a surprise to younger generations of LGBTIQA people, whose own unique challenges today may make an impression on those who were young themselves in 1969.
Bringing together the stories of many generations of this important group of people is part of the work of the Rainbow Elders of LifePath.
Rainbow Elders offers opportunities for LGBTIQA elders, as well as their allies, to build connections and find resources. The group helps people build relationships, give and gain support, grow in knowledge and cultural competence, and advocate for human rights so that everyone can live and age with dignity.
Each year in the spring, Rainbow Elders partners with area nonprofits and business supporters to host an intergenerational gathering of LGBTIQA people of all ages. Over dinner, guests mingle and get to know one another over ice-breakers and deeper conversations about what is means to be LGBTIQA today, what it meant yesterday, and what the future could hold.
Rainbow Elders also hosts other annual social and educational events. The next picnic takes place in July, and an educational presentation will be offered in the fall. A team of elder panelists is available to speak with community groups, and Rainbow Elders also offers information, referral, and opportunities for advocacy.
Several other organizations exist here in Western Mass to support LGBTIQA people. You can meet many of them at the upcoming Franklin County Pride event on June 23, right here in Greenfield.
Here is a partial selection of local offerings, as featured in the Rainbow Elder’s quarterly newsletter, available by free subscription to your email inbox (sign up online):
- Pioneer Valley OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change): Meets twice monthly in Northampton; films are open to all ages; visit their website
- Gender-Role Free Contra Dances for the LGBTIQA Community & Friends: Seasonal; meets in Montague; visit their website
- G Cha Cha: A Queer Latin Dance Night: “for the dance-serious and the dance-curious”; meets the second Thursday of every month from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Boylston Room East at Keystone Mill in Easthampton.
- Rainbow Seniors: offers a “Talk & Listen Group” for confidential conversation and monthly “fun” meetings in Pittsfield, Mass.; visit rainbowseniors.org
LifePath’s many services for elders, people with disabilities, and caregivers are open to and affirming of people of all identities. If you need a helping and welcoming hand, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Find us online and a phone call away at 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259.