50 Years After Stonewall SAGE Symposium Oct. 19

Jason A. Michael
By | 2019-10-09T17:55:22-04:00 October 9th, 2019|Michigan, News|

The Metro Detroit branch of elder advocacy group Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders, or SAGE as it’s better-known, is taking a look back at history. Specifically, it will be hosting a symposium titled 50 Years After Stonewall on Saturday, Oct. 19, to examine how far the LGBTQ community has come since Stonewall and how far it still has to go.
“We have seen significant cultural change in the past 50 years, particularly for LGB people, which has prompted more support for equal rights in marriage, employment, housing, health care and beyond — if not federally, then at least in a number of states,” said SAGE Metro Detroit Executive Director Angie Perone. “However, our community still faces significant violence and unequal treatment under the law, particularly when it comes to gender expression and gender identity, as evidenced by the recent Supreme Court cases argued on Oct. 8. And the increasing violence and harassment toward our transgender community.
“Intersecting issues of racism compound these issues for transgender people of color,” Perone continued. “The Stonewall Rebellion/Riots, and many other similar riots like the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco, were sparked predominantly by transgender community members of color — those who experienced deep marginalization from nearly every sector of life. Yet this community still experiences some of the most vicious attacks from our government and the general public. While we have made significant strides in the past 50 years, we certainly have more to accomplish on our road to full civil rights.”
Beyond the overview of rights violations in the past, SAGE’s symposium will also take a look at the needs at what SAGE calls the Stonewall Generation.
“The Stonewall Generation, also called the Pride Generation, refers to the LGBT baby boomers who came of age during the Stonewall Rebellion,” explained Perone. “LGBT people were more visible in the United States. They saw the beginning of decriminalization of homosexuality and the passage of landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.”
Before the Stonewall Generation, Perone said, came the Invisible Generation, those that came of age during the Great Depression and World War II, when LGBTQ people were rarely discussed or incorporated into public discourse, and the Silent Generation, those that came of age during McCarthyism and the Lavender Scare, when LGBTQ people were considered a threat to national security and heavily medicalized and criminalized.
“Likely touching on those generations will be historian Tim Retzloff, who will provide a local historical perspective on what was happening in Detroit at the same time the Stonewall Riots were happing in New York,” she said.
“Then our plenary speaker Dr. Cassandra Cantave will present research from AARP’s Maintaining Dignity Report on some of the largest issues recently identified by LGBT older adults,” Perone said. “Our final panel discussion will pull everything together with a multigenerational discussion about how we can move forward and create a vision for the future. Our goal is to bring diverse groups together for conversation, reflection and connection — specifically as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.”
The symposium will take place at Wayne State University’s Eugene Applebaum School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It is located at 259 Mack Ave. in Detroit. Those interested in attending the symposium can visit sagemetrodetroit.org for more information. The event is co-sponsored by AARP. To register visit aarp.cvent.com/Stonewall50.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.