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A Lifetime of Reflection

July 17, 2019

Carol came out to her parents when she was 42 years old. Now 75, she continues to seek safe spaces where she can be herself without fear of exclusion.

She remembers when she took early retirement from her work in BC and moved to New Brunswick to look after her ailing parents. After her parents passed away, she started receiving anonymous notes and phone calls with the message “do not flaunt your lifestyle here.” She moved cities again. And yet again – in search of a place where prejudice was not so palpable. She arrived in Toronto one and a half years ago.

Carol did not know anyone in Toronto. Social life with her peer age-group felt challenging as well. She feels that if she were to come out in her other circles, she would be excluded. She learned about The 519 Older LGBTQ2S group six months ago, and even though it is a long commute on TTC, she decided to join the weekly program.

“I can be myself here. I wish people would realize how hard it is for people my age, especially if they identify as LGBTQ2S.”

Despite her experience of unsafe spaces and relationships, Carol is hopeful about the future. She feels that as a society we have come a long way. She is very proud of the young people who see gender as a fluid concept. She enjoys intergenerational interactions and wants to encourage young folks to engage with older people more often.