By Susan Payne
The Los Angeles LGBT Center held a fall showcase for senior citizens, the first of its kind for the department, celebrating the array of talent and work produced by the group.
Opening the day, a color guard routine was performed by some of the department’s retired veterans, followed by a tai chi practice led by an LGBT Center instructor. Members of the Senior Writing Group featured readings from the group, then members of the Allies for Racial Justice Book Club took stage and encouraged seniors to sign up and learn about building connections and trust.
“It’s both showing off all the amazing things our seniors are doing and making sure that the community is aware of all the different offerings that are available,” said Michael McFadden, Senior Services’ associate director of programs, in a report from LGBT News Now.
“We invite anyone to be in the group,” said participant Neil Beecher. “You don’t necessarily have to have read the books to participate, because you have a lived experience to share. Because the dialogue that takes place will open things up in your mind and you’ll go, ‘Oh, I saw that. I experienced that.’ We learn from one another in that way too.”
Other groups, TransC.A.R.E. (Community, Autonomy, Resilience and Empowerment) and Men Living With HIV, encouraged seniors to get involved and sign up as new members.
In between moments of seriousness, the senior chorus, the R&B Line Dancing class and a beginners’ tap dance group performed lively renditions and performances.
“It’s been great to see people coming back in person,” said McFadden. “The folks who have come back have been really eager and excited to have these opportunities to reconnect with their friends—or to meet new friends who they’ve been on Zoom with for two years and never actually met in person. Some of them have been deeply connected and supporting each other through the COVID-19 pandemic but hadn’t ever actually met in person until now.”
Going forward, the department will host biannual talent shows.