SAGE, AARP Michigan Co-Hosted '50 Years After Stonewall' Symposium

Jason A. Michael

SAGE Metro Detroit, the agency for LGBTQ older adults, and AARP Michigan co-hosted a symposium titled "50 Years After Stonewall" on Saturday, Oct. 19. The symposium took place at Wayne State University's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences building in the Detroit Medical Center area. Dozens showed up for the afternoon panel discussion. The subject: Where Do We Go From Here?
Moderated by SAGE Metro Detroit Executive Director Angie Perone, panelists for the discussion included Cassandra Cantave from AARP, Kai Daniels from GM Ventures, SAGE Metro Detroit Training and Education Manager Judy Lewis, Jey'nce Poindexter Mizrahi from Equality Michigan, community activist Austin Williams and SAGE Metro Detroit Board Treasurer Cornelius Wilson.
Perone started the discussion off by asking the panel what they saw as the biggest obstacles for the LGBT community moving forward and how panelists would recommend overcoming them.
"One of the biggest issues is the lack of data – quality data – on LGBT folks and their experiences" Cantave said. "We really don't have any good federal data. At the organization I work, AARP, we definitely try to do a lot of research so that way we can be a credible source."
What makes the LGBTQ community unique, said Daniels, is its intersectionality.
"It's so much of everything coming into one place and we make a united community able to love and care for each other," she said. "That's something that we have to continue to build on as we're moving into this fourth industrial age. There's so much changing, from a technology standpoint, from a social standpoint and we're bringing the rich history of knowledge of our elders in the community that have an understanding, a real life experience in practical applications, to how to really make it as an LGBT American or how to live open or out.
"As we start to move forward and we start to think about how we can learn from both sides of the table, how we can learn from all generations and all sides of the intersectionality that makes the LGBT co beautiful," Daniels continued.
The challenge, said Lewis, is getting young and older adults talking to each other, and in getting older LGBTQ adults to become active members of the LGBT community in general.
"If there are 65,000 older LGBT adults in southeast Michigan and we get 35-40 at the senior coffee klatch, where are the other 65,965 because I need a date for New Year's Eve," she said with a laugh. "I've been alone for 10 years and the time is now."
Once the laughter died down, Lewis turned serious.
"Talk to your friends and involve them," she said. "Have house parties and talk about how you can get involved with an agency that is working 110 percent to better your lives."


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