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Pioneers of Pride – Lexington Fairness 2020

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pioneers of pride

At great personal risk, our Community’s outspoken trailblazers forged the very paths of equality and social justice we both enjoy and strive to broaden today.  It is their strong and resilient foundation of PRIDE and their galvanizing vision that empowers us to stand tall, to speak out, and to live authentically. 

We owe these Pioneers of PRIDE much!  Their leadership and voices for Fairness established many of the programs and services that continue to support our local Lexington Community.  And, it is their generation that launched innumerable strategies that are the bedrock of the policies and framework of the civil and human rights from which we now benefit.    

Not only does our Pioneers’ example fuel our determination for the work still ahead, it must also remind us that they mentor us still, as they age, about aging, because aging in the LGBT+ communities is territory we and the broader community have shied away from. 

The issues and concerns of maturing and older LGBT+ adults are diverse.   Yet, acknowledging and addressing them is compulsory, because our elders’ quality-of-life today becomes our legacy, just as much as any of the equal rights and protections we hold so dear at this moment. 

So, how do we begin?  We listen.  We listen to learn what is important.  We learn what is important to find our compass, and we use that compass to lead us where our elders need us most. 

One of the most challenging and serious issues of any aging adult is isolation.  In the LGBT+ communities, isolation is a disproportionate risk.  Older and elder LGBT+ adults have lived a lifetime of carefully choosing when and where and how to be themselves.  They may not have been able to remain part of their birth and inter-generational families, or had children of their own.  If their families of creation are made of loved ones close to their same generation, their systems of support are experiencing aging questions all at the same time.  And, because experiences of isolation can be compounded by economic, health, education, geography, and other factors, some older and elder adults may find themselves with fewer resources and the power to tackle isolation.  For persons of color and transgender persons, those resources and that power may be additionally challenged. 

So, what is Lexington Fairness doing and how can I be involved?

What Lexington Fairness, Inc. is Doing

We invite maturing, older and elder LGBT+ adults of every identity to share their knowledge, experiences and ideas with us about how we can grow a culture of inclusivity here in Lexington, and together with our Fairness colleagues, across the state of Kentucky.  Please join us at our monthly open Board meetings.  Become a member of our Board of Directors.

On our website, we share Bluegrass Rainbow Faith Communities Interfaith Directory of Welcoming & Affirming Faith congregations.  This annually updated Directory lists more than 50 Christian, Jewish, New Thought, and Orthodox Catholic affirming congregations from Paducah to Middlesboro.  Bluegrass Rainbow Faith Communities is co-led by Board member Louise Tallen, PhD, LSP, and Rev. Dr. Carol Ruthven.

On our website, we also share Affirming LGBT+ Resources, a Snapshot Guide to locating health, wellness, support & information, that includes a Professional’s Toolkit. 

We collaborate with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), a national advocacy and education leader since 1978, through SAGE nationally-credentialed Board member, Vicki Stanley, MA, HS-BCP, to provide LGBT+ cultural competency trainings to aging services and providers across the state of Kentucky. 

How You Can Be Involved

Help us create age-inclusive LGBT+ events, celebrations, and festivities across the identity spectrum, especially if you are a maturing, older or elder adult!

Help us plan age-inclusive social activities across the identity spectrum, such as movie screenings, tea dances, picnics, drag performances, and more, especially if you are a maturing, older or elder adult!

Help us acknowledge not just the struggles, but also the incredible resiliency of our Community’s Pioneers.  Share your stories!  Collaborate with us to capture them with local history archivists, and with national storytelling programs such as SAGEStory and StoryCorps Outloud. 

Lexington Fairness is PROUD of our Pioneers and humbled by the immense gift of their legacy!  Join us in embracing and saluting these strong leaders and our PROUD Community!