Nominations open for Qld senior LGBTI community awards
Not every older gay person has the celebrity profile of activist and actor Sir Ian McKellen; in fact, the invisibility of older people in a community obsessed with youth is one of the downsides of being an older LGBTI person.
Too often the media neglects the achievements and fails to reflect the interests of people who have strayed the ‘wrong’ side of 60, 50, 40; or whatever your definition of ‘old’ might be.
But older people do contribute to the community, often unseen and unacknowledged, and the Qld AIDS Council (QuAC) hopes to bring some of them out into the open with its inaugural ‘Visible and Celebrated’ LGBTI Seniors Awards, the nominations for which close July 26.
Helen Daintree from QuAC’s Ageing Diversity Project told QP the awards are a way to start shifting our thinking towards older LGBTI people, both in our community and in mainstream society.
“As an older lesbian who had to remain invisible and hidden for a while, I think it’s long overdue that all the contributions that we have made in our community and the mainstream become visible,” she says.
Daintree says youth is valued more than age, wisdom and experience in mainstream society, so it’s no surprise that cultural practices in our own community are similar.
“I was a sociologist,” she says, “so I see cultural, social and economic factors at work to set forth cultural practices. You see themes repeated around ageing as being a negative state and a time when you’re losing stuff and you’re ‘less than’.
“But I’d like to know: Who’s our oldest student? Performer? Teacher? We just don’t know about those contributions. We’re going to uncover some real treasures.”
The awards are open to current Queensland LGBTI residents aged 60 and over and you can nominate a person in one of 12 categories:
ACTIVISM on any issue;
MENTORING and EDUCATION of any kind related to mentoring support, teaching any age, anywhere (not limited to formal institutions of study);
LIFELONG LEARNING still doing formal study of some kind (not limited to university study);
PRESERVING HISTORY of LGBTI people or other people and places;
PERFORMING ARTS music, drama, dance, drag, etc;
VOLUNTEERISM with any group or organisation, local, national or international;
LITERATURE and FINE ARTS including writing, painting, sculpture, photography, etc;
SPORT and RECREATION active in competitive or recreational pursuits;
HEALTH and WELL-BEING e.g. Runs workshops on meditation, fitness, health research, etc;
RURAL and REGIONAL LIFE activities focused on people living outside the urban south east Queensland region;
ENVIRONMENT or SCIENCE e.g. A bush or wildlife carer, data collector, recycling projects; and
PERSEVERANCE and PERSISTENCE anyone who is an inspiration due to persistence in pursuing an issue.
Apart from being 60+, nominees must be a current resident of Queensland and identify as LGBTI.
Nominations close July 26.
Winners will be announced at QuAC’s 30th Anniversary High Tea on August 24, 2014.