This was the first ever time that Mary’s House had been in the Parade. We were excited to offer FREE transportation to LGBTQ people over 60 and to folks who were not able to walk the entire parade route. Many thanks to Jerry Miller who donated a state-of-the-art trolley and his time. The crowd just cheered to see LGBTQ elders participate in the Parade as well! We threw the prerequisite beads and candy AND we sprayed our WATER GUNS on the crowd. They just loved it. The riders spoke of walking and being at earlier prides where there was not a pride parade but a couple of streets near Dupont Circle near the park. At the time there was no commercialization by mainstream organizations. Times surely have changed.
This was the second time MH had a booth. We brought additional water and chairs for LGBTQ older adults and elders who needed respite. We saw lots of old friends and allies and made many new acquaintances. We introduced our Home Match Program, that makes connections with a homeowner with a room to rent, to a person who needs a room. It was gratifying to hear time after time after time that the Match House Program was needed as much as the brick and mortar that would be Mary’s House.
Young people were very interested and ready to learn how they could work to change the environment NOW so that it would be welcoming to them when they needed it. Older people wanted to know what was being done now to change the environments in private and public retirement communities and assisted living facilities. Of course folks talked about AFFORDABLE HOUSING, wanting to know when Mary’s House would be leased up and operational. People from all walks of life came by to learn and give support: faith leaders, architects, health providers, housing specialists, news personalities, City Council members, people who were in the market for such housing and people who would be in the market in the future. Many people asked if we would be able to provide them with technical assistance.
Many thanks to Capital Pride for its intentional services to provide comfort with a cooling station for LGBTQ older adults and elders at the Festival.
Did we mention we had FUN! We did! Looking forward toward next year!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.