Why am I a little late today?
I move slower in the heat and here in the Pacific Northwest we are having record high temperatures. In fact if Portland, OR and Phoenix, AZ temperatures reach the numbers predicted, Portland will be 3 degrees cooler!
The other reason is it took a bit of time for the content of this post to take form. I'm not even sure it is fully formed, but it is Monday so here I am.
Yesterday afternoon I attended a storytelling event co-produced by my friend, Paul Iarrobino and Alyssa Burkett.
I listened attentively as six local LGBT Elders told their stories about their lives growing up.
What I heard were stories of personal sacrifice, stories that lasted decades before the person found a safe haven to be him or herself.
I've worked fifty years in education, criminal justice and social services and have come in contact with people from all walks of life, race, cultural background, etc. Looking back on my career and seeing what I view as important now, there is a thread: people who have someone who loves them unconditionally are always better able to manage whatever happens in life than those people who have people who offer conditional love or no one at all.
When each person had shared her or his story, there was an intermission. Because of other commitments I did not stay for the question and answer part after refreshments. I did stop and say a personal 'thank you' to all put one of the presenters.
My message? A personal thank you for telling their stories and how they touched my heart.
The Elder LGBT Oral History project is one way to honor those who came before and made the road easier for the young people of today. We are seeing that this year in the Civil Rights movement for African-Americans. However, my granddaughters have no idea of what my women friends and I dealt with in school and in the workplace because of the work of women in my generation and earlier who fought for a workplace free from sexual harassment, insurance coverage for birth control, etc. (Do you know that when I was first in the workforce if I wanted coverage for a pregnancy I had to pay more?) But I digress---
From my perspective all movements that remember and honor those that came before, who paved the way for current and future generations to know their history are on the right path.
The Elder LGBT Oral Histories event was recorded.
Paul and Alyssa plan on expanding this presentation to include more elders of this community.
You can follow their journey on Twitter: @LGBTWisdomPDX
I encourage you to do so.
Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual paths that nurture the soul.
You can learn more about Judith on her website.
Check out her author page at Windtree Press
Judith is also learning to use Twitter: @judithashley19