LGBT Health Resource Center

The stories, struggles, and trailblazing successes of Baltimore’s LGBT elders will be recognized at an upcoming event in celebration of National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day.

Members of Baltimore’s LGBT community will come together for “Stories From The Community: The Elder Who Made a Difference in My Life,” a night of laughter, inspiration, recognition, and storytelling on May 16th from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Single Carrot Theatre (2600 North Howard Street, suite 1200). Learn more about the event at Tinyurl.com/LGBTelders2018.

We asked Mark King, a Baltimore-based writer and activist, to discuss why he will take part in the event and the LGBT elder he will honor.

Why is National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day important to you?

We as a community don’t have the generational mentors that mainstream society does. We need to take every opportunity to promote cross-generational mentorship. I know I have really benefitted from the wisdom and experience of my elders, and I hope I can do the same for someone else.

You’ll be taking part in our event here in Baltimore as an Elder Day Storyteller. Can you share just a bit about the person you will be honoring?

I’m really lucky – my oldest brother, Richard, is gay and he’s really a generation older than me. He’s been my role model since I was a teenager. Everything that matters to me, all the causes that are important to me today, are because of his influence. He was an AIDS activist before I was. He addressed his addiction before I did. So he’s a big brother in the very best sense of the world. He lives in Louisiana but he’ll be present at the National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day event here in Baltimore.

In addition to your role as a storyteller, you were involved in planning the event. What led you to take on that task?

Community service. These things don’t happen by magic. Someone, and usually a group of people, have to make them happen. I think I was most impressed by the fact that the planning group wanted to make sure our whole community was represented, that we saw faces and heard voices at the event that aren’t always represented. It’s the full beautiful spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. We are a broader, more colorful, deeper community than we often acknowledge or notice. I for one don’t always want to be looking at and listening to people like myself. Advocacy is about addition, not subtraction. I think anyone who comes to this event will hear from people who are within the LGTBQ spectrum, but are completely unlike themselves, and that’s a beautiful thing.
What will members of the community learn by attending the event?

They’re going to learn just how deeply influenced we are by our elders, and how crucial it is that we seek out the wisdom and experience of older people, that we value the experience of our elders. And I, for one, am going to be just as inspired by the younger people there as the older. In our community, our mentors are often our chosen family, and we can learn from the past.

To learn more about National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day and how to host your own celebration, visit LGBTeldersday.org.

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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