On Saturday, June 3rd, the City of Seattle hosted “Aging the LGBTQ Way, a forum on equity, respect, and inclusion.” Aging the LGBTQ Way: Forum on Equity, Respect & Inclusion was recorded by The Seattle Channel. Mayor Ed Murray led off with “I, also, am an aging member of this community, at age 62.” He continued, “Many of us spent our thirties going to funerals and our fifties going to weddings. Who would have thought. But that is the reality that we have come through and the journey we have been on.”

Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, University of Washington School of Social Work, spoke at length of the unique challenges for LGBTQ elders. She presented key findings from her research interviewing over 2,400 LGBTQ adults ranging in age from 50 to over 100. This research was the first federally-funded longitudinal study which examined the health, aging, and well-being over time of LGBTQ older adults (http://age-pride.org/).

Other presentations and activities focused on LGBTQ equity, respect, and social inclusion; economic and housing security; social and civic engagement; and aging, health, and community services. The Urbanist attended a round table led by LGBTQ Allyship where the entire spectrum of pro-housing and slow growth perspectives were shared. Most memorable were a wonderful, older couple, passionate about wanting their property rezoned so they could build housing for more people.

The planning team for this forum included representatives from Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, Generations Aging with Pride, Ingersoll Gender Center, POCAAN, Seattle LGBTQ Commission, UW School of Social Work, and the City of Seattle (Seattle Office of the Mayor, Aging King County (Aging and Disability Services), Seattle Human Services, and Seattle Office for Civil Rights). The purpose of the event was to contribute to an action plan through 2021. Participants developed recommendations for Age-Friendly Seattle. If your organization would like to work to include voices of LGTBQ elders, The Urbanist would recommend reaching out to Generations Aging with Pride or other sponsors. You can view tweets from the event by searching #agefriendlySeattle.

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Laura Loe (Bernstein) is an educator, musician, and gardener from Colombia/NY/LA/Chicago who has lived in Seattle since 2009. Her writing has appeared in Data for Progress, The Urbanist, The Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald, and International Examiner. She is passionate about womxn urbanist voices, climate justice, community ownership, equitable community development and renters' rights. Laura founded Share the Cities with like-minded folks and performs civic matchmaking that leads to unlikely allyships. She tweets as @sharethecities and @lauraloeseattle and is supported by 90 monthly patrons on Patreon.