“TEN MORE GOOD YEARS”–challenges facing GLBT elders

“Ten More Good Years”

Challenges facing LGBT Elders

Amos Lassen

It seems to be human nature to forget those people who are responsible for the rights and blessings that we have today. Sure, we hear about them in history classes and other places but when we get out in the world, we become so wrapped up in our own lives that we just seem to forget. I find this to be so true in the GLBT community among the younger generations, where so many are into being part of a community that they really have no interest as to why that community came to be. Everything we do today is a gift that has been given to us by those who came before, and these heroes deserve our respect.

Sometimes we are so busy being young that we do not think what it will be like when we get older, when we, too, join the ranks of the older GLBT community. It was in the late 60’s when we joined the civil rights movement and we finally were compelled to stand up in defiance against those who had been putting us down for so long—and we have not backed down since. While we have not yet achieved full equality, if we take a good and hard look at where we are today as compared to where we were, we see tremendous gains. Those who stood up back then are older now and they are looking at a new kind of discrimination because, added to their sexuality, is age.

In “Ten More Good Years” we meet four elder members of pour community and we hear and see their stories. We are quick to see how they have suffered (so that we will not) and yet they will tell you that they are not yet equal to the rest of society. It is hard enough growing old, but it is that much harder growing older and gay. So much is outdated, especially in the case of healthcare and the social service agencies have no or little (little or no?) idea as to our special needs. This is exactly what is looked at in this film. We get an in-depth look at the injustices our elders have to face—the very same elders who paved the way for us. Director Michael Jacoby corroborates everything by interviews with lawyers, gerontologists, and social service workers, and we see the way so much has fallen through the floorboards when it comes to our elders.

In 2005, the White House Conference on Aging was held and this is to be an event that will be held every ten years. The Conference, instead of helping us, made us re-realize the comfort of the closet. Nothing was provided for us and we were once again quiet.

We can only hope that this film will open the eyes of the world (and of our community) as to what is going on with our elders. Here the people say for themselves what the problems and their concerns are and this is not only about them, but about us as well for we will be there someday.

The struggle for our rights is nowhere near over and in order to succeed we must bridge the gap between young and old and between straight and gay. We can no longer sit and let the world pass us by. We do not want our elders (or ourselves) to age alone and we are not going back into the closet. I suppose the film really spoke to me because I am now a member of that group and I must say that there were times I watched it with tears in my eyes.

I cannot emphasize the importance of this film enough. It is important in that we need to see it and we need others to see it as it is an educational experience like few others. It is rare to have a film in which I find no faults, but here is one: it is perfect, but that may also be because the subject is so important.

For educational purposes and screenings there is a guide, and anything you need to know you can find at the website

www.TenMoreGoodYears.com. Visit it; you will be glad you did.

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