Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Four Generations of Iowa City LGBTQ Individuals Connected to Share Stories Last Night in Iowa City

Much of the reason that I didn't blog yesterday was because I was attending the "Intergenerational Dialogue with the LGBTQ Community" at the Iowa City Public Library. It was an interesting meeting attended by 30 high schoolers, college students, gen-xers, and baby boomers. The event was also a confidential event, so there is a limit to what I can say about it.

It was organized by the Visibility Action Team (VAT), which Husband Mark is a member of. VAT's purpose is to raise awareness about the unique challenges shared by this community's aging LGBTQ population. They host events and sponsor movies.

Last night's event was a guided dialogue aimed at promoting friendships and understanding across the generations:
One of the reasons (facilitator Kendra) Malone said she believed people were so excited about the talk was the lack of events which specifically involved the LGBTQ community.
“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for the queer community to get together and talk about issues that we face and how we can support each other across generations, or more broadly,” she said.
This was the first time an intergenerational discussion has been held, and Malone said the reason it was created was because of the continuous need she heard from the community for a conversation between generations.
“I continuously heard this conversations of, ‘We need to talk to each other,’ ” she said. “So the committee decided to put this event on to create an opportunity for people to talk to each other.” 
The topics the meeting revolved around were community building and storytelling, Malone said, with members sharing their unique generational experiences, coming-out stories, and learning about how to continue to develop a community despite age differences.
There was a expressed desire amongst many of the attendees to plan future events. One of those events -- scheduled for June 2015 -- will be an all-ages Gay Prom at the local Senior Center.

One of the things that was driven home to me last night was the need for passing on LGBT historical stories to the coming generations. I was in a small group discussion with a couple near retirees, a college frat boy, and a couple high schoolers. The younger folks didn't know about the AIDS Quilt and only vaguely knew about Stonewall. We didn't get much of a chance to discuss much more. This is not a criticism of them. It just shows the need for passing on these stories so that they don't become lost. You can bet that these types of stories will be showing up in future posts on this blog.

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