Elder Pride will return to Druid Hill Park at the upcoming Baltimore Pride Festival on June 17th, the second straight year that the LGBT Health Resource Center will offer LGBT elders the chance to connect with their community, receive important information and resources, and reflect on their journey.

The Elder Pride tent will once again be located in Druid Hill Park on Swann Drive, near the Family Pride location. Attendees will have the chance to add themselves to a timeline of LGBT history, celebrate their “coming out” anniversary in an “Out Proud” photo booth, and receive free testing, resources, and swag.

We asked Monte Ephraim, LCSW-C, manager of behavioral health services and LGBT older adult programming at the LGBT Health Resource Center, for additional details about the Elder Pride celebration.

How was Elder Pride received last year?

Elder PRIDE was embraced with open arms last year, a reception that guaranteed it a place in our annual celebration – it’s amazing what additional shade, padded seating, and cold water can do. Seriously, though, we had an unintended but welcomed intergenerational event, and we hope to see that same joyous atmosphere and integration this year. Our elders and youth both recognized the opportunity to reflect and learn from each other’s shared stories. There was laughter and emotion, questions and answers, new connections forged and old acquaintances reunited.

What’s new at Elder Pride this year?

In addition to our great events from last year, this time around we’re also hosting a resource clinic that offers everyone from 18 to 118 the chance to learn about the importance of advanced planning and directives in the LGBT Community – it’s part of our “Don’t Give Your Power Away” campaign and funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Health. It’s important to make your voice heard when it comes to your medical care; what should be routine for everyone is often not so easy for members of our community. To help individuals further take charge of their own health and wellness, this year the POWER Project of Chase Brexton Health Care will have their mobile testing unit conveniently located next to our tent offering hepatitis C and HIV screening. And as always, there’s the opportunity to break out in spontaneous dance – at your own risk!

Why is it important to celebrate Elder Pride as part of Baltimore Pride?

Our LGBT elders are the fabric that, over the years, wove the celebration we know as Pride. Our community is one of inclusion, and LGBT elders continue to be both our history and our future. There is still much work to be done, so it’s important to remember those who came before and keep their history alive to build on the progress they’ve made.

How can attendees travel to Elder Pride?

Thanks to a partnership we forged last year with Action in Maturity, we are once again offering the Elder Express van, which will shuttle age 50-plus attendees between the Pride Festival and Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center at 1111 North Charles Street. Seating is limited and reservations are required; please call 410-837-2050 x1049 for more information, or visit Tinyurl.com/PrideExpress.

For more info on Elder Pride, visit Chasebrexton.org/elderpride, or contact the LGBT Health Resource Center at lgbt@chasebrexton.org or 410-837-2050 x1049. t

Chase Brexton’s LGBT Health Resource Center provides access to expert health information and resources that will enhance wellness and quality of life. For more info, it’s ResourceCenter.lgbt

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