May 25, 2006

South Florida's Largest LGBT Organization
I drove the 14 miles to Compass, South Florida’s largest LGBT organization this past Monday night for a meeting with a group of older gay gentlemen. I was probably the oldest man at the meeting. I think most were sixty or seventy something. At the beginning of the meeting each of us took a turn to describe what we had done during the past week. The activities of these gentlemen were fascinating. Some spoke about attending a rooftop deck party to watch the fireworks at Sun Fest in West Palm Beach back on May fifth. Others described various club activities they participate in: horticulture, croquette, tennis, and karaoke. Still others talked about church activities, though several were Catholic and I can’t imagine remaining a member of a church that discriminates against LGBT people. All in all it was enlightening, and I will definitely go back.

I had discovered at the Compass website that this group of men was one of a number of lesbian and gay groups that meet on a regular basis at Compass. These include a group for black men, “Brothas Speak,” an HIV social group, gay youth, Lesbian women over 40, LGBT late teens and early 20’s, another for GLBT 25 to 40, and a group that makes panels for the AIDS Names Quilt project. There is no group for men and/or women between 40 and 65 – though it seems to me that age group would be the one struck hardest by the AIDS epidemic - and I find myself wondering why there is no group at Compass that includes all ages, genders, and both sexes. Just because I am interested in persons of the same sex sexually, doesn’t mean I don’t like others. Rebecca was my best friend! And, just because I’m old doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to offer to persons younger than myself. I doubt that 99.9 percent of young men would be interested in my withered old branch, but I have a mind and a great deal of knowledge about life, love, and the world in general to offer. In fact, one of the activities I enjoyed most here in the Palm Beach area during the past few months was Pride Fest precisely because of the cross section of GLBT people of all ages who attended. In the carnival atmosphere I was able to talk to several gay youths about their experiences as out teenagers at school and home. How fascinating to be alive at a time when teenagers can and do take the risks involved in coming out as lesbian and gay people! So, my concern is that we ourselves, LGBT people, maintain ageist, gender, and sex discrimination among ourselves at a time when our country and its’ people wish to write a constitutional amendment that would permanently prevent us from marrying and thus forming legal familial relationships.

Perhaps I should proffer my idea for an age, gender, and sex inclusive group to the powers that be at Compass, and see what kind of reaction I get.

Have a wonderful day, everyone.

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Anonymous david said...

Isaac make the suggestion at the next meeting, you may be surprised with the response. Good luck in your new home, you have guts and an adventurous spirit.

11:08 PM  

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