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Letters for the Week of August 31

Readers sound off on gay seniors, Proposition 13, and Bawdy Storytelling.

1 comment

"Aging Back in the Closet," Feature, 8/17

American Society on Aging Weighs In

This is a great article, and brings needed attention to an important topic. However, I'd like to offer a correction to one point. You write, "National LGBT organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders) are working to promote LGBT senior rights, and have gotten groups like AARP and the American Society on Aging to consider this population in their efforts."

As a matter of fact, the ASA, a professional membership organization, has been a pioneer in bringing attention to the issues and concerns of the LGBTQI population. Our LGBT Aging Issues Network, one of eight membership constituency groups, was first formed in 1994 and brought national attention to LGBT aging at a time when SAGE was a local New York City social service provider, and organizations such as the task force were definitely not prioritizing the issues of LGBT elders. All of the organizations and people discussed in your article are doing and have been doing great work. But it is a matter of record that ASA has been a leader, not a follower, in these issues. Visit our website at

Robert Lowe

Senior Director, Operations and IT, and staff liaison to LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) of the American Society on Aging, San Francisco

New Tools for a New Issue

I want to thank you for your article on LGBT elders who are being forced back into the closet for fear of discrimination in long-term care communities across our nation. Yours was a very compelling, articulate article that very succinctly explained the issues.

I oversee a program called Gay & Grey, in Portland, Oregon. We provide services, activities, and advocacy for older members of the LGBT community. Our newest initiative includes the development of a housing assessment tool that evaluates and rates long-term care communities on how welcoming and friendly their communities are for LGBT elders and LGBT family members. We just finished the training and orientation for the core group of volunteers (older LGBT people) who will begin doing the assessments on a group of communities who have agreed to pilot this project with us. The assessment includes access to diversity trainings that we have been doing for nearly ten years, to help community staff and residents better understand these complex issues.

Thanks again for giving your voice to this very important issue!

Mya Chamberlin

Director of Services for Seniors and Homeless Families, Friendly House Inc.

Help Is Out There

Great article!

I am a registered nurse who has worked in hospice/end-of-life care for more than ten years. This is specifically why I am starting my own business. I have known for some time that a facility where gays and lesbians feel comfortable is needed.

The interesting part of the article to me is that it actually had to print the rights of gay people, and that companies need to train their employees. It really is nothing more than two people who are in love. Do we really need to train people to care for people who care for each other? That is truly sad to me.

My company, Pacific Respite, is an all-inclusive company. This is a place where everyone is welcome. We specialize in terminal illness and end-of-life care, but are not limited to just that.

If you are in need of assistance caring for someone, please feel free to contact me ( with any questions. I am not looking for business; I am looking to help. I have been doing this a long time, on both the East Coast and West Coast, and may be able to answer some of your questions.Thank you to Nancy Lopez for the article.

Kay Daniels, Alameda

"An Outside Lands Recap," 8/17

The Girl-Guitarist Glass Ceiling

"Because having a female member is still a sort of novelty, acts that aren't really that good get press even if they don't yet deserve it."

Wow. Replace any other "visible minority" with "female" and you will see how bigoted that statement is.

Also, she is more than a "capable" guitarist — it sounds, by your tone, as though you were surprised she was able to play at all. Gross.

Clara Engel, Montreal, Canada

"Talking About Sex — and Being Asian," Culture Spy, 8/17

A Conversation All Teens Could Use

Kudos and keep up the good work, Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice! Given the increasingly exploitive market forces targeting teens and parents that are preoccupied with current hard economic times in all ethnic communities, it's not only the immigrant Asian teens who could benefit from a group like ACRJ!

Ruby MacDonald, El Cerrito

"Thinking About a Career in Yoga?," Education and Careers, 8/10

Tied in Knots

I just finished three years of advanced yoga studies at the Berkeley Yoga Room. I read the article twice and realized that I had learned nothing whatsoever — and moreover, that it is a great example of the non-sequitur scare story. The author's only evidence proving how hard it is to find employment as a yoga teacher is "anecdotal evidence." My job search has revealed the opposite to be true: that there are lots of jobs in the Bay Area for yoga teachers.


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