September 10, 2018

Edmonton Pride Seniors Group Notes at SAGE – Sep 10, 2018

Attendees: Dave Gilbert, Larry Jewell, James Lavoy, Blair MacKinnon, Thais McKee, Michael Phair, Jan Schmitz, Alvin Schrader

Regrets: Sydney Goss (on leave), Tammy Horne, Ken MacDonald, Quinn Posch, Robert Smith, Eric Storey, Laurie Winder.

1. Welcome and Introductions – Welcome to James Lavoy.

2. Housing Feasibility Study Update – Robert advised the survey has been closed and our preliminary findings are offering us solid direction and good data for broader discussion with participants. We had 22 responses out of 36 invites. That is an excellent turnout in the world of surveys.  As a result of this data we can now offer participants clear choices and objectives. Lynn the consultant is looking at possible land sites that we can use as models for potential design strategies. (Right at Home is looking at a parcel of land in Oliver that could house an LGBTQ2S Seniors complex. It’s in preliminary discussions).  We will meet with participants in early October. Fourteen participants have stated they wish to continue discussions.

3. Federal Government Opportunity – MP Randy Boissonnault called Michael and there is apology funding available.  Alvin has prepared the attached Federal Tri-City proposal and it was submitted.  The theme is social isolation.

4. Proposal for Edmonton Community Foundation – Michael has submitted the attached proposal under SAGE’s name.  We should know by the end of September if it is approved.

5. GEF Update – Michael and Eric will present to the residents of Kenora tomorrow afternoon.

6. Website – Jan gave a brief history of the creation of the webpage to date.  Alvin, Larry and Michael have been working with Jan to add content to the website     The members only section password is epsgmembers

Jan is ready for more help from the rest of the group.  Please send your topics you want posted by email to Jan.

7. Updates

– EGALE – Alvin will be interviewed for possible membership in October.

– Capital Care – Michael has met with members from Capital Care (AB Health Services).  They are not ready for our presentation yet.  First they want to initially address the topic of sex.

– Larry discussed the first successful Seniors Centre without Walls LGBTQ2S teleconference held September 5th.  The next one will be the first Wednesday in October. All members of EPSG are welcome to participate. Call 1.866.279.1594 at 4pm and enter passcode 381232# or to Speak with Programming Staff: 780.395.2626. Heather Droin is the moderator.

– AB Health Services – will be meeting on Thursday after a summer vacation.  The video and education materials should be ready by Thursday.

– Contacting other organizations – tabled till next meeting.

8. Other

Blair has made contact with the organizer of De Roze Hallen (Pink Hall) the 1st all gay purposely designed complex in Amsterdam. Its 14 condo like units with common areas etc.  He is willing to talk to a group of us regarding how they planned, developed and completed their housing model.

Larry has arranged for Laurie to speak to Prime Timers.

Thais is now a board member for Edmonton Pride Center.  Congratulations. The members discussed potential activities, loss of history, elder in residence potential, active board member participation and reputation issues.

Next Meeting – 4:30 Oct 1/18 (not Oct 8 as previously announced)

Next Next Meeting – 4:30 Nov 5/18

Notes prepared by Jan Schmitz

Attachments for September 10, 2018 Notes

Community Foundation Proposal

Tri-City Proposal to Reduce Social Isolation among LGBTQ2S+ Older Adults in Canada

Submitted by: Edmonton Seniors Pride Group, Ottawa Senior Pride Network, and Rainbow Resource Centre

September 14, 2018


This tri-city submission requests funding support for three projects designed to help reduce social isolation and stress among LGBTQ2S+ older adults in urban Canada, as well as to improve their safety, mental health, physical health, and well-being, to engage them, to share their history, and to provide queer residents with additional skills and knowledge to age well.

These initiatives would serve as an evaluated pilot that could be used to position the federal ministry for a multi-year program in the future and to seek longer-term funding support for such endeavors to improve social integration among LGBTQ2S+ communities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, and queer) and with civil society at large. Throughout the implementation process, periodic teleconference meetings will share progress and information. Outcomes and evaluation methods will be developed for feedback about each project.

The submission is presented by three well-established organizations concerned about integration efforts between urban queer communities and community agencies. The organizations are: Edmonton Seniors Pride Group (ad hoc volunteer group, 2013), Ottawa Senior Pride Network (not-for-profit volunteer-run organization, 2008), and [Winnipeg] Rainbow Resource Centre (not-for-profit organization, and the longest continually running LGBTQ2S+ resource centre in Canada, 1973). An estimated $50,000 is needed to fund each project, for a total grant request of $150,000.

Systemic Barriers and Challenges

Tri-city initiatives past and proposed are ​built​ ​on​ ​research evidence locally and ​from across Canada and the U.S. that​ ​reveals many​ ​LGBTQ2S+​ ​older adults​ ​face​ critical barriers and challenges created​ ​by​ ​discrimination and systemic bias,​ persistent bullying and even violence, ​deep societal misunderstanding and public ostracism, widespread false beliefs and pseudo-science,​ ​deleterious health and mental health conditions, invisibility, income disparities, insufficient inclusion of needs by policy and program planners, and​​ ​lifetimes​ ​of​ ​pervasive​ ​silence and fear. There is general alarm at the prospect of being forced back into the closet, again, as LGBTQ2S+ seniors age, whether staying in place and utilizing home care services or living in residential facilities. Two of the groups, independently of each other, in Edmonton and Winnipeg, have recently received funding to study LGBTQ2S+ seniors’ housing needs and options in each city.  

Key research patterns are echoed time and again in studies across the continent that show LGBTQ2S+ seniors consider it essential to be able to be “out of the closet” in their housing environments and social interactions. Majorities are concerned about being able to move to seniors’ housing and participate in community functions in which they and their partners and friends are respected, cared for, included in decision-making, and accepted by staff, other residents, and residence management and policy-makers. Many LGBTQ2S+ older adults speak about being socially isolated, and many come looking for social support after losing a significant other and wanting to reconnect with community. Such concerns and fears are intensified and magnified in hard-to-reach LGBTQ2S+ sub-groupings – Two-Spirit, transgender, disabled, ethnicities, immigrants, and homeless. These patterns and conditions are virtually identical in the three urban centres represented here, and they are echoed in many other jurisdictions across Canada. 

The need for more and better social integration opportunities for queer seniors is evident. Each of the three organizations making this proposal is working to create, paraphrasing the Ottawa mission statement, a strong, connected, visible senior queer community and culturally-appropriate and safe senior services and residential environments.

Edmonton Pride Seniors Group

The Group’s mission is to address housing and service issues and barriers affecting the growing population of LGBTQ2S+ older adults in the Edmonton area. The Sage Seniors Association [Edmonton] provides meeting space and manages grant funding for the Group. To date, the Edmonton Group has undertaken several key initiatives: Multi-faceted survey of LGBTQ2S+ seniors in Edmonton and a Symposium to discuss and publish survey findings; Annotated bibliography of research and professional literature, published; Education and awareness training module, presented to more than 25 agencies and groups; Marginalized and underrepresented populations engagement proposal; LGBTQ2S+ Seniors Advocate Proposal for the Government of Alberta; LGBTQ2S+ housing feasibility study; Pride intergenerational learnings project: LGBTQ2S+ older adults and queer youth; Community conversations: older and younger LGBTQ2S+; website development; and informal advocacy with government officials and staff as well as with care provider organizations and services.

Ottawa Senior Pride Network

The Network delivers training to Personal Service Workers and the staff and management of retirement and long-term care facilities for seniors. It also provides social activities to encourage seniors to engage in both the queer and broader community through dances, discussion groups, dinners, movie nights, and other events. It engages seniors to influence their community by participating in consultations with political decision makers, health service providers, and exploring housing options, as well as providing an online discussion forum where seniors can share events, information, and issues of concern to queer seniors. OSPN has received a 2018 New Horizons grant of $25,000 to fund a 10th Anniversary Conference to set our future direction. The Network also relies on in-kind support from both the Centretown Community Health Centre and The Good Companions Senior Centre.

Rainbow Resource Centre [Winnipeg]

The Centre is Manitoba’s only LGBTQ2S+ community centre, working to provide support, education, and resources to foster a proud, resilient, and diverse LGBTQ2S+ community. The Centre offers social support groups and counselling to individuals and diverse families of all ages; provides assessments, policy review, and training on LGBTQ2S+ equity and inclusion; provides a coffee group twice a month, a monthly movie matinee, and monthly potluck to seniors through the ‘Over the Rainbow’ program; and its older adult programming currently has a Facebook group membership of over 85 older adults and a contact list of over 200, with approximately 20 older adults participating in an activity at least monthly.

Proposed Tri-City Funding Initiatives

The Edmonton Pride Seniors Group requests funding support to strengthen advocacy and ‘self-advocacy’ among older LGBTQ2S+ residents by re-engaging the LGBTQ2S+ community at large with our elders, providing social support and care, and promoting among younger and middle-aged community members an interest in and respect for aging in today’s society. Currently, LGBTQ2S+ older adults are both forgotten and dismissed even though they all bring with them an understanding of the past and experiences untold of difficult and fearful lives, histories, and struggles for human rights and equality.

Working with three other local groups, the Edmonton Pride Centre, the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta, and the Sage Seniors Association [Edmonton], project goals will be to help younger people relate more fully to LGBTQ2S+ seniors, reduce ageism, and to promote more inclusive initiatives and programs by the LGBTQ2S+ community that acknowledge, support, and care for their elders. Through a series of facilitated dialogues, workshops, and charrettes, we will explore and discover the barriers that the LGBTQ2S+ community faces in relating to aging in the middle years (25-55), with a particular focus on attitudes towards youth and aging. Based on initial findings, selected roundtables will explore ways to diminish barriers and rethink and reconstruct how attitudes on aging might be changed for the better. A further phase will be facilitated interactive discussions and supported recreational activities with LGBTQ2S+ elders that positively include them within the larger queer community, e.g., an inclusive (free) Pride Week dance.  

The Ottawa Senior Pride Network requests funding support to pursue two streams of activity: a queer seniors hub within The Good Companions Senior Centre; and an outreach program to reach underrepresented queer populations in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. In partnership with The Good Companions Centre we will hire an individual to work onsite with Network volunteers to create and run activities and programs on a day designated for LGBTQ2S+ seniors in a senior centre environment. This will include both better integrating queer seniors into existing programs of the Centre and making other clients of the Centre more comfortable participating in OSPN generated activities and programs. It will be accomplished by overcoming any homophobia through training and by supporting individuals encountering challenges in either group. This project will serve as an evaluated pilot that could be used, in conjunction with The Good Companions, in seeking longer-term funding for such an endeavor.

Outreach to underrepresented groups within the Network, such as persons who are from Indigenous, francophone, transgender, disabled, racialized, and immigrant communities, will require sending volunteers to meet with groups and individuals in order to identify interests, barriers, and needs. Preparation of communications materials, facility rentals, and other programming costs will be used to draw members of those communities into established or new programs and services either as stand-alone activities for a group or as integrated activities between the new participants and existing OSPN seniors. Not only will this result in reducing isolation for those underrepresented groups, it will increase volunteer opportunities for integrating LGBTQ2S+ seniors in the community since it is their volunteer contribution that makes all our programming possible.

The Rainbow Resource Centre requests funding support to expand services to one day a week that will provide LGBTQ2S+ older community members with a safe place to meet, socialize and attend workshops and activities geared to the community, in addition to the current movie matinee and evening potluck events, with programming to include a mix of informal and formal activities.

Activities will include coffee and chat; recreational activities such as yoga, knitting, stretching, exercises for older adults, movie, matinee, police academy, tax clinic, etc.; presentations to Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres members and other older adult serving organizations to increase awareness of resources for LGBTQ2S+ resources, their identities and realities; and support the annual Over the Rainbow and the Centre’s “Youth Program Intergenerational Tea” to share LGBTQ2S+ community history and reciprocally increase older adults’ understanding of LGBTQ2S+ youth and their realities and increase youth knowledge of LGBTQ2S+ seniors and their realities.