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Gratitude for Older LGBTQ2S Adults

December 27, 2019

“Many of the older LGBTQ2S people fought for many of the freedoms we enjoy today. Let’s say a little thank you by supporting them.”

An Interview with Moji Shirazi – LGBTQ2S Seniors Program Assistant

Moji has been working with older LGBTQ2S adults for over 10 years.

Last year, he joined The 519 as Program Assistant for our Older LGBTQ2S Programs. Over the years, we have seen an increase in the need for programs for older LGBTQ2S adults. Moji explains the importance of such programs for our communities.

Why are The 519’s Older LGBTQ2S programs important for our communities?

Older adults face a lot of social isolation, and there are few spaces or opportunities where they can safely express and be their authentic selves. Also, when it comes to programming that reflects the needs of trans seniors, there is a great shortage of such services. Our programs for older LGBTQ2S adults offer a place for communities to connect in an affirming environment, socialize with their peers, develop inter-generational connections, learn new skills and share a meal together.

For folks who are unable to access programming in our space, we have programs like our volunteer-run Friendly phone program and our Friendly Visiting Program Pals Connect. I feel to serve Older LGBTQ2S adults, programs like Pals Connect are essential to bridge the gap, make programming more accessible, and engage people through meaningful interactions.

What does the success of older LGBTQ2S programming mean to you?

I would define the success of our program in many ways. At our drop-in program, we started with fewer participants but now, we have 30-35 people visiting on an average each week due to our increased outreach and expanded programming. We are also seeing more participation by older queer women, people of colour, and trans folks. This means we are serving more people than before – which translates to success for me.

It also feels like a success when participants come and thank us after a session because they felt happy, or when they bring a friend along because they want to share this experience with them.

What is your vision for programming for older LGBTQ2S communities at The 519?

Almost half of the folks who visit our drop-in program experience poverty and food insecurity. For many, the snacks we offer is their meal for the day. This breaks my heart. One of our goals is to be able to have the funds to be able to provide a hot meal during the drop-in. It has also been our joint dream to be able to build capacity and see more community participation in leading roles in our programs.

What would you like to say to donors?

Many of the older LGBTQ2S people we serve played an important role in Canada’s queer and trans liberation movements. They fought for many of the freedoms we enjoy today. Let’s say a little thank you to them by donating to programming that could support them.