Friday, January 17, 2014

Another Friday Fall Forward

Ah technology! Either you love it or hate it and I simply love it! Even as a high school student all those years ago, I was fascinated as the "geek" kids talked about electronic wizardry and all manner of gadgets that at that time I had no imagination of what was to come. And yet, I have had the privilege to not only witness the explosion to new developments but took the challenge to not be on the wrong side of the digital divide. Not to mention understand that often times this new digital frontier has it up's and downs including many hiccups here on this platform.

Even as I hit the five decade mark, I decided that I still want to keep engaging the latest and greatest that will roll off the production lines. I've been fortunate to have younger individuals around me to who have not only encouraged but been teachers of which I valued. Its really true that you are never too old to learn something and I embrace that wholeheartedly. What can I say, COP 24/7 has allowed me to share my journey with my readers and I hope that you've enjoyed the ride thus far. Now let's go posting.

Who You Calling Gay Elder?

Earlier this week COP 24/7 posted an item concerning an upcoming event featuring the film Gen Silent which addresses aging issues in the LGBTQ community. Although the film is poignant and
gripping in its approach to the issue, as a man of a certain age, I've taken the mindset that I'm not going to get caught up in the "aged out" gay man mentality.

Certainly youth has it value among the lavender set, but I lean toward the wisdom that I've obtained, the courage that I have to keep moving forward and my well earned respect in the community.
 I'm on point to sailing into my second act of being fabulous. After coming through four surgeries, dealing with weight issues, ARV therapy and maintaining my mental health amidst all the madness that daily life brings, I Herby pronounce, "I'm Gucci."

Nevertheless, I also am fully aware of the pitfall, barriers and the many unfortunate issues around aging, not only in the gay community but beyond. Working in a long term care facility made me acutely sensitive to the needs as well as numerous dilemma facing those who enter such care or  perhaps require elder care in their homes.

Over the years I've had some serious thoughts as to my fate and what I need to do to prepare to offset possible scenarios including those inevitable funeral arrangements. I suggest that individuals learn about wills, estate planning, trust and especially who will speak for you if you can't do it for yourself. Assemble a team of competent and sensitive professionals who will "hear" you and not just be about the sales of financial products. Choose wisely and stay engaged as time moves on, you may have to update.

If you and your partner have not started discussing "what's really going on in your relationship," then by all means get started before something tragic steps up. that's the case need to talk about how all this plays in your daily lives plus what should be done in the case of one's untimely death. I've begun this process and encourage others to follow suit. No time for golden ;pond, love life and be about living it out loud and proud!

Trans Women of Color

The Case of Ce Ce Mcdonald

Chrisahaun Reed "CeCe" Mc Donald was release earlier this week after her harrowing ordeal of being imprisoned after being convicted of manslaughter in June 2012 and was sentenced to 41
months in prison for stabbing to death a man who attacked her and her friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She served 19 months and will be on parole in Hennepin County for the remainder of her sentence, which will end in February of next year.

Ms. Mc Donald is an African American transgender women of color activist whom has raised the disparities of the prison system and systemic policies that fail to address the challenges and barriers facing trans individuals.

The case involved a  bar patrons started shouting racial, homophobic and transphobic epithets. One woman broke a bear stein and sliced McDonald's face with it.  The wound later required 11 stitches.  During the ensuing brawl, Dean Schmitz, 47, ended up stabbed in the gut by a pair of shears belonging to McDonald, who was a fashion student.  McDonald pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter in a plea deal which also involved paying for Schmitz' funeral expenses.

Schmitz' autopsy revealed that he had Nazi tattoos.

Arkansas fairs no better in understanding this segment of the LGBTQ community and also has glaring deficiencies from accessible health care services   to undeveloped mechanism to assess the needs of the trans community. In response to the lack of data on transgender concerns, a first ever survey tool for the Arkansas transgender and gender non-conforming community was launched in September 2013.

This ground breaking survey was developed in partnership with CAR’s GEAR (Gender Equality Arkansas) program and PFLAG Little Rock.

To date there has been no data regarding the concerns and needs of the Arkansas transgender and gender non-conforming community. The results of this survey will assist in providing information to support educational efforts with medical practitioners as well as advocating for a variety of equality based rights.

If you are transgender or gender non-conforming and residing in Arkansas, please take this survey. It takes about 30 minutes, but your contribution will provide an immeasurable amount of information that will ultimately help secure equitable care and protections.

For meeting dates and times, please call 501-244-9690, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or check out the GEAR page on Facebook.
Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up"
Author Paul Schmitz 
Paul Schmitz is the CEO of Public Allies, which has advanced the leadership of more than 5,000 diverse young adults to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation across the country. The author of "Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up," Schmitz writes and speaks frequently on leadership, diversity, civic participation, social innovation, collective impact, and community building. He was selected by The Rockefeller Foundation as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow, has been recognized by The Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in the country, and is a recipient of Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist Award for innovation.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. *Book signing to follow
Where:  Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall
*Reserve your seats
emailing or calling (501) 683-5239.

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