Brisbane's community rallies to bring Christmas cheer to LGBTI seniors
Brisbane’s leather, uniform, denim, fetish and kink club BootCo donated $810 towards Christmas hampers for LGBTI seniors today.
The donation will go towards the preparation of 24 Christmas Hampers, part of the Queensland AIDS Council’s LGBTI Seniors Community Visiting Service.
Ann Matson coordinates the service, and she told QP the hampers are an important contribution to older members of the community.
“At Christmas time some of the people we are visiting are among the most isolated or alone or lonely, so it’s lovely to be able to have a present to give them to them,” she says.
Apart from the BootCo donation, the program received $160 from Brisbane City Council, and a discount on a legal topics diary for older people, “a really good source of information about ageing”. The Reject Shop in Sunnybank gave a 5 per cent discount on goods, and the Brisbane Pride Choir donated CDs.
This is the third year QuAC will deliver the hampers.
“The feedback we get is that it’s really important for people to still feel connected to the LGBTI community as well as their geographical community,” Matson says.
Matson's background is in social work, so when she saw a position working with the LGBTI community it seemed a good fit. She’s now been working for QuAC for five years.
Matson says people should contact QuAC if they feel they would like to volunteer for the Visiting Service. Volunteer visitors attend a training session and must get a national police check. Visitors are asked to commit to a weekly or fortnightly visit.
“It’s then a process of me matching a visitor with a client, and there are a few variables,” Matson says. “Not only geographical closeness, but identity preferences. So an older lesbian woman might prefer to have a female visitor. Or an older gay guy might feel more comfortable with an older gay man.
“It’s about spending time with people, really. Our role is that social linkage, calling in for a cuppa and a chat. It might be visiting at home and watching a DVD together, going out to a café or lunch, to a movie or the library. There are the free council concerts for seniors, or during Pride or Queer Film festival times they might like to go to Fair Day or to see a movie.
“These are some of the folk who were out championing our rights and living very brave lives when it wasn’t safe to do so in a lot of cases, where there was discrimination and persecution in the community. To be able to provide support for them as they become less mobile is an honour and a privilege.”
Contact Ann Matson about the LGBTI Seniors Community Visiting Service through QuAC: www.qahc.org.au/lgbti-seniors-community-visitor-service / 07 3017 1763.
image: The Brisbane Pride Choir donated CDs for the Xmas hampers, held by Darren from BootCo (left) and Daniel, one of QuAC's volunteer visitors.