May 19, 2016
“On The Table” Offers Chicago’s LGBT Elders a Seat at the Table
By: Dr. Maria Glover Wallace

On the Table is an annual forum designed to increase conversations around civic engagement among residents and organizations.  This gathering fosters new relationships and creates a unified experience across the city and region.


As thousands gathered in Chicago, I joined a group of great folks brought together by AARP to discuss the intersectionality of aging and LGBT identity. Our table of community members and organizational representatives openly shared the celebrations and challenges of aging as an LGBT person, some of which I discussed in a previous Diverse Elders Coalition blog. We also identified the uniqueness of the LGBT aging experience in the Midwest region and developed future topics of discussion. 

Our tablemates recognized the ground-breaking work and accomplishments of many including: SAGE‘s two Chicagoland affiliates at Center on Halsted and West Suburban Senior Services, Affinity Community Services’ Trailblazers, Howard Brown’s Aging as We Are Program, the LGBT Aging Network of Chicago and Equality Illinois. These organizations and others continue to address the community’s need for culturally competent programs and services, safe and affordable housing, healthcare access, and equal treatment under the law.

We shared a delightful meal and the conversation was energizing as we explored new ways to come together and make our community stronger and safer. It is exciting to know that the conversation does not end here.

Many thanks to The Chicago Community Trust and AARP for this opportunity to share, learn and make a contribution to our communities.



The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.