The contributions and concerns of older LGBT men and women is the focus of a group called 25 & Proud.
Comprised of about a dozen Kendal at Oberlin residents, the group is named to reflect the retirement community’s 25th anniversary and inclusiveness for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
“We have come to an open and welcoming community that is safe and where we can be ourselves,” said member Ardith Hayes.
“And we want to make sure Kendal continues to be welcoming, so that 10 years from now as new staff, residents, and board members come, the culture continues,” said Ann Francis, president of the Kendal at Oberlin Residents Association and head of 25 & Proud.
The group’s concerns range from ensuring that spoken and written language at Kendal is inclusive to making sure LGBT residents get the type of care they deserve at the Stephens Care Center.
The group’s first project is organizing a weeklong celebration of LGBT Pride Month. The following events will be held in Kendal’s Heiser Auditorium and are open to the public:
• The “Gen Silent” film will be shown at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, followed by a questions-and-answers session. The film examines some of the difficulties older LGBT adults face as they age and move into long-term care communities.
• A panel discussion will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. Several LGBT residents will share their personal stories, experiences at Kendal, and concerns about aging.
During the panel discussion, Robert Taylor will share his story about moving to Kendal in 2003 with Ted Nowick. He views this first celebration as “beginning the conversation. We need more panels and more movies because there will always be new people at Kendal, residents and staff.”