LGBTI elder abuse

Jill: The submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission on older LGBTI people’s experiences of elder abuse written by Dr Catherine Barrett, is confronting but essential reading. For those working within aged care, for those who know or care for older LGBTI folk, it is even more essential reading. Catherine has asked me to circulate the submission in order to use the information to lobby for more recognition of the abuse of LGBTI elders within our communities.

We need to be mindful of the experiences that some LGBTI people have to endure in life, and hopefully do something about trying to lessen their burden. That each of us has the power to support and bring some sense of care and justice for victims of abuse when it has happens is obvious – be it listening to their stories, giving a kind smile, or something more. It is my hope that our awareness of all forms of abuse means we can start to think of preventative measures we might initiate or contribute to in order to reduce the incidence of abuse in our LGBTI communities and for people in the community in general. You can read the Submission here: LGBTIsubmissionAlicesGarage

First IFA-LGBTI Symposium

Jill: From 21 to 23 June 2016, the International Federation on Ageing [IFA] held their Conference in Brisbane. For the first time ever we presented an LGBTI Symposium. It was successful to the extent that LGBTI communities are now officially on the agenda for the next IFA Conference in Canada in 2018. On the Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Catherine Barrett, Brian Day O.A.M., Pauline Crameri (Val’s Cafe) and I presented papers at the Symposium. We addressed the Federal Government’s National Strategy for LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care. Dr. Barrett addressed the Strategy and its development. Brian and I then shared our personal histories of then and now about our lives – to help explain why LGBTI communities have been given a “special needs” status under the legislation. Pauline then spoke about the implementation of the strategy. Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE in the USA chaired the Symposium. On Thursday morning Mark Hughes, Samantha Edmonds, Angela Littleford, and JR Latham presented papers on various aspects of life impacting on our communities, while Michael Adams presented an overview of LGBT older adults in the USA. After our presentations on Wednesday, we celebrated Brian’s 76th birthday that very day, and his award in the Queens’s Birthday Honours list [far better that a Queen get the award then rather than on Australia Day] of an Order of Australia Medal. We had two rainbow birthday cakes that set the tone for helping to celebrate Brian’s award and birthday.


GRAI in Perth

Catherine: I’m currently in Perth for a workshop with GRAI, an amazing organisation established in 2005 to advocate for LGBTI Elders (for more information click here). Today I met with some gorgeous men from Prime Timers, an organisation providing social activities for mature gay and bisexual men (for more information click here). Also did a radio interview today on RTR with Paul Van Leishaut-Hunt (pictured here with June Lowe, chair of GRAI). I feel a strong sense of community in Perth – and feel this means there are good connections for LGBTI Elders. I am hopeful some of the wonderful Elders I met here will become bloggers.IMG_4521.JPG

Just do it !!

G’day. I’m Jill from Queensland and I’m here to help. Not many folk like doing paperwork concerning death or failing cognitive abilities through illness or accident; many leave it too late. This is also important for older LGBTI people. Some folk are even superstitious with regard to talking of death and dying, or serious illness. But it is vital for everyone over 18 years of age to complete a will, a power of attorney (either enduring or, at least a general power), and an advance health directive. Each document can be changed when your individual circumstances change; nothing is set in concrete – unless you lose capacity, i.e. your cognitive ability fails you. In fact, the documents should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the content is current and relevant to you plus that it contains your wishes.

Remember that with superannuation, most people will have something to cover in a will so that the person / people they want to get their assets and money actually get it. If there was an accident with a third party insurance claim, or there is a major health problem, then it becomes even more essential.

Explanations for the forms and the process are on the government sites on the internet. Read up on each of them. Relating to the Queensland situation you can download the Advance Health Directive, complete it with your medical practitioner and then get it witnessed. Download the Enduring (or General) Power of Attorney read it carefully, complete it or get some legal help, then have it signed and witnessed. The Public Trust Office can assist with making wills, as can your legal representative.

Having your paperwork completed is worth it to save your loved ones and/or friends the heartache of not knowing what to do should anything happen to you. If you don’t have the conversations, the completed documents will hopefully ensure your wishes are carried out. This is a picture of me on the left.TeaCosy-21


Apology from State Government

Today the Government apologised to gay men for the laws that criminalised homosexuality in Victoria. It was a very moving event and Parliament House was packed. This photo is of Noel Tovey AM waiting for the apology. Noel was convicted of the ‘abominable crime of buggary’ at the age of 17 and sent to prison. Now in his 80s he has just had his criminal record expunged. We love you Noel. We hope other states and territories follow suit with an apology and the expungement process. We are currently working on a series of updates on where we are at in each state and territory. You can listen to the apology by clicking on this link: here. If you live in Victoria and would like to find out about the process for expunging a conviction, click here. Also click here to watch a short video of photos from the day.

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Move in May – Stand Up

On the weekend almost 2000 Melbournians participated in the first Move in May event – running and walking around the Botanical Gardens to raise awareness the discrimination LGBTI people encounter. The Move in May concept was developed by Angie Greene (who has a gay brother) and is part of a project called Stand Up – which challenges discrimination. The photo below shows members of the Glamourhead Sharks swim team and members of the Executive of Celebrate Ageing preparing for the walk.



Gay hate crimes review Sydney

Trigger warning: this post contains disturbing information about gay hate crimes.

New South Wales Police have launched ‘Operation Parrabell’, a review of the deaths of 88 gay men in Sydney dating back to the 1970s to the 1990s. The review aims to determine whether gay hatred motivated the victim’s death. About 30 deaths previously identified as unsolved – ranging from declared suicides to savage bashing murders – are included in the 88 cases. They were highlighted in research by former NSW Police gay and liaison officer Sue Thompson and criminologist Stephen Tomsen. The Operation Parrabell team are pictured below and you can read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald by clicking on the link below. Still feels so wrong to have the words ‘gay’ and ‘hatred’ in the same sentence. 
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