Michael Costa
Alice Emeritus Board,
Member, San Francisco LGBT Taskforce
“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”  
– Maya Angelou
As the LGBT community gains the right to do all of the above, its aging too. We have come a long way since Stonewall.
That means many things, but one central fact is that many people who participated in Stonewall, founded Alice, lived through the AIDS epidemic since its inception, and fought for equality in civil rights over many years, are now in their sixties, seventies, and eighties.
We don’t yet have an LGBT AARP, and we don’t know all the issues associated with aging for members of our community. But San Francisco has taken a step to address that lack of knowledge.  Last year the Board of Supervisors established the LGBT Aging Policy Taskforce to advise the Board on the needs and concerns of LGBT San Franciscans aged 60 and above. The Taskforce is charged with developing “actionable” recommendations for the Board to consider in the areas of healthcare, housing, social services, discrimination, abuse, and social support network development. Task Force members include non-profit managers, subject matter experts, community activists, and representatives from the broad diversity that is San Francisco. (Go to:  http://www.sf-hrc.org/index.aspx?page=201 for more information.)
The Task Force is currently reviewing existing local, state, and national data concerning the aging LGBT community, as well as holding hearings and focus groups. To augment that effort, it has contracted with an academic research group at the University of Washington to manage a community outreach study to San Francisco LGBTs over 60 years of age.  Through this study original and unique data for a range of population segments will be forthcoming, so that the Taskforce can better understand – and address – the needs of our community.
The survey is:
  • an online 20-25 minute survey, with hard copy versions available for those lacking online capability;
  • a way to gather personal experience in the areas of: discrimination, abuse, health, mental health, housing, social services, support network, identity and sexual behavior; and collects a range of demographic and attitudinal information as well;
  • involving extensive outreach to a range of demographic groups including: Latino, Black, API, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals;
  • in English, Spanish, and Chinese, Tagalog and Russian.
  • funded by multiple public and private sources.
Click here for a survey in English
Haga clic aquí para ver la encuesta en español
Нажмите здесь для анкетирования на русском языке
Mag-click dito para sa isang survey sa Tagalog

I have the privilege of serving on the Taskforce, and encourage every LGBT San Franciscan over 60 (you know who you are) to complete the survey, which will be available online by the end of this week. (The URL will be posted here when it is available.) There is even a raffle – 5 survey participants will win a $100 Macy’s gift card  through a random drawing.
By participating you will help increase the overall understanding of the issues facing our community, a community that will increase significantly in numbers in the next few years. In a way, its Stonewall again. Time for those of us over 60 to stand up and be heard.
“Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.                
– Betty Friedan
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