Cultural Humility

Today is another of the webinars I am attending concerning educating professionals on the care of elderly LGBT adults. Check out the title of this one: Cultural Humility for LGBT Older Adults.

It goes further to explain what will interest me. ” 

Activity and Life Enrichment Professionals and Ohio Nursing! Participants will be able to… • Learn basic terminology relating to sexual expression, sexual orientation and sexual identity. ” I feel the more information which is presented to the world about elderly LGBT care (and transgender in particular) is made available, the better life could be for all of us. 

Now, and I can’t resist this, speaking of elderly transgender adults, it is Connie’s birthday! (seen above)

Happy Birthday my friend!

Near Death Experience

Just when I think I have all the possible wrinkles ironed out in my transgender experience, another possibility comes along to worry about.

Last week I had an opportunity to communicate with a woman who deals in insurance and other retirement planning.  She wanted to know more about issues dealing with transgender elderly as they face long term health care. 

As is the case with many transgender people I know in my age group 70+, I am on a fixed income life with very little extra cash to play with. Years ago I lost quite a bit of money when I had to close my restaurant down. It was an especially dark period in my life when I lost my wife and close friends to death and my 401K’s plus a sizable inheritance to a failed business.

These days, all I have to cover my infamous “final expenses” is a couple small life insurance policies which are good for life if I keep paying on them. My new paranoia comes from how my transgender status will effect the policies. For example. I took out the oldest policy when I was living a male life and now I have to send in all the paperwork for a name change.

Plus, most importantly of all, my basic gender is an issue… again. I am legally a female but biologically a male because I don’t plan on ever under going gender realignment surgery. 

I may be making too much of an issue with this but once again I am faced with a transgender issue when I die. On the positive side, I have been researching information on the insurance front and the news was the companies are learning and adjusting to the needs of transgender individuals. So the future could be brighter.

Finally, if any of you have any relevant info, please let me know! 

Summit Week

Three days of this week I was involved in watching and learning from the LGBT Aging Summit which was held virtually this year.

After I finally received the proper link to sign in, I had missed the keynote speech from an acquaintance of mine…a transgender woman of color. I did however after a fair amount of prodding, made it in for the next webinar on the current state of LGBT elderly residents when they come to the point of needing assisted care living. I wish I could write something positive about the prognosis but I can’t. At least, here in Ohio, the current laws do nothing to protect elderly LGBT women and men from possible abuse. 

Imagine for a second if you were in a nursing home and a “well meaning” subordinate begins to show up in your room with a bible and explains she or he is giving you time to repent before it is too late. Or when you begin to be ostracized by the other residents. 

As you can tell, nothing in the webinar gave me much hope for the future except for the people involved who were involved in positive changes. 

The second webinar I “attended” was actually a viewing of the documentary “Gen Silent.” It’s actually a decade old now and includes looks at the lives of a transgender woman slowly dying of lung cancer, an elderly lesbian couple who describe the early days of navigating life together in Boston, as well as a gay couple which features one in an assisted living situation with dementia. 

By now, you understand the documentary didn’t provide much joy and happiness for the future. Especially for me because my Dad passed on from dementia. It was hell.

Perhaps the biggest problem is, things haven’t changed that much for the LGBT community over the past decade when it comes to aging. We need all the advocates we can get!

After watching “Gen Silent” I felt extremely blessed to be in a relationship with my partner Liz. The transgender woman who was passing away was sadly dying alone after being shunned by most of her family. 

If you decide to follow the link and watch “Gen Silent” you may want to have some tissues handy.

The Bridge

 After writing yesterdays Cyrsti’s Condo post which primarily dealt with the possibility of facing negative treatment when and if you are forced to enter an assisted living facility. I received feedback

In the meantime, yesterday afternoon, I attended a virtual meeting on the subject hosted by Equality Ohio and Rainbow Elderly Alliance of Dayton, Ohio. Essentially, what I found out was I wasn’t alone in thinking about building a bridge to jump off of (when considering my future). Survey’s taken have revealed the same concerns from a very large percentage of transgender individuals. I liked the surveys because they were careful to separate transgender women and men from the other segments of the LGB community. It turns out, many “gender expansive” (new term) individuals had been discriminated to the extent of even being denied equal health care and power of attorney’s. 

I wish I could provide you all with some sort of positive here but the only thing I can come up with is, certain groups are working to help us with education programs for assisted living facilities. The major problem is we, meaning the LGBT community, have few legal resources as far as the government goes.  In many parts of the country. Which unfortunately will not change or even get worse with the latest Supreme Court appointment.

As Michelle wrote in and said: hopefully I will never get close to the bridge to jump off of (and have to enter an assisted living facility. )

And Susan Brooks added this comment : “Like you, I am a senior in the transgender community and I am concerned that I might have to return to the closet in my later years. Now that I have entered my 70s, those later years are much closer than I would prefer. I’m fortunate to live in an open minded region of a very closed minded state. So, elections, such as the one we’re enduring right now, have consequences that definitely can hit home.
As you say, don’t jump off the bridge before you get to it.”


Thanks for the comments. I am trying desperately to bury my bridge parts in the closet!

On to Being Old

After the brief moments of remembering my past military experience, yesterday was also time to snap back to the present. After I went to a virtual transgender – cross dressers meeting last night, it seemed I spent the whole day on the laptop. Of course it included the time it took me to go through all my emails and the time it took to write a blog post. 

Mixed in with all of that was a LGBTQ virtual webinar on aging issues I watched late last week. I came away from it with at least the sense others shared my concerns with conditions we face as we age. Specifically in assisted care facilities and/or nursing homes. Messages came in from political figures such as Sherrod Brown (Ohio Democratic Senator) and the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio. I also learned more about a group called “Sage” which presents seminars to assisted living groups. 

I am also going to attend another seminar summit meeting today on nearly the same subjects. It’s called a “Workshop for LGBT Elders and their Caregivers.” Hopefully I will learn about any rights the elderly have may have. 

As I say over and over again, I am so paranoiac about having to de-transition and go back in the closet as I face getting older. I am in a different place than many transgender individuals because I have chosen not to have any surgeries at all, plus no facial hair removal. Take me off my hormones (which is also a possibility) and I am stuck dealing again with the worst aspects of my gender dysphoria.

I am fortunate though I have a strong support group around me. 

Through it all, I keep telling myself not to build a bridge to jump off of before I need to. 

The End Game…Revisited

I have written here in Cyrsti’s Condo in depth concerning my paranoia with nursing homes in my later years. Which aren’t that far away. In fact, the whole deal has given me the push to join a regional LGBTQ Rainbow Alliance for the elderly. Recently, the organization is becoming the go to group for information on LGBTQ aging issues when it comes to nursing homes and assisted care facilities. Leaders of the group are even reaching out to certain loft communities in the area about their acceptance of us. 


Today I even registered for a webinar hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association called “Dementia and LGBTQ plus Older Adults…Do the Letters Matter?”  Th subject is especially close to me because my Father passed from the disease and it was horrible.


In addition, I attend monthly board meetings and plan on helping out with a virtual elderly summit this fall in the metro area. It will be interesting to see what the outside world thinks of, or knows much of of anything at all about the transgender community. 


I hope all of this helps to fill the void of moving away from the cross dresser – transgender support group I have been a member of for years.

A True Trans Pioneer

From the Inside Edition:

“Robina Asti has led an extraordinary life: she flew planes with the Navy during World War II, managed a major mutual fund in New York City and, at 99 years old, still serves as a flight instructor. But don’t expect her to get sentimental; Asti has embraced her more than nine decades on Earth with her signature wry sense of humor.

“Being 99 is just a number,” she told InsideEdition.com. “It’s a number that means 100 years ago, in 1921, some little jerk was born. And that’s me.”

“I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is see out the window that it’s daylight, and I think, ‘Hey, I survived the night. Isn’t that great? I got a day to look forward to. I don’t care what happened. I’m going to enjoy this day,'” she added. “In other words, I’ve already made me feel good.” 

Asti transitioned in 1976 and has become a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights in her later years. She married the love of her life, artist Norwood Patton, in an old airplane hangar in 2004. The pair had been together for decades before they tied the knot. But when it came time to apply for widow benefits from the Social Security Administration after Patton’s death in 2012, Asti was denied because the agency said she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage.

Thanks to help from Lambda Legal, Robina was able to triumph over the system.

Selected

Last night I was officially elected to the board of the Greater Dayton Ohio Elder Rainbow Alliance. Due to my over active activity with certain social media platforms I am almost sure I will be pushed in that direction to help out. The only problem is I may have to cut back on a few of my radical comments on the worthless liar in chief in the White House. Then again, maybe not.


Interestingly there are three other women on the board who are also veterans. As far as I know, I am the only token transgender member. My goal is to provide  quality “T” representation to the overwhelmingly LGB membership. During my screening interview, I was naive and thought the other four people knew anything at all about a transgender person. They didn’t. But at the least, they can now tell their friends they have met a trans woman.


Of course, my ultimate goal is to being able to speak to elderly care facilities about caring for transgender orientated patients. In other words, the closet looms large for us who are elderly in the near future. So far, there still is an elderly summit scheduled for the area in the fall. It is all dependent on the status of the virus by then.


Perhaps in my small way I can help.

Volunteered

Yesterday turned out to be a travel day. First, I had an appointment with my long time therapist. As always, it went predictably well and in a relatively short period of time she determined I wasn’t a threat to others, or myself :). Approximately an hour later, I was sent on my way. 

Perhaps you remember I was also going to meet one of the board members of the Dayton, Ohio Rainbow Health Alliance. He wanted to talk to me concerning doing any outreach programs they may be invited to in the Cincinnati area. It all worked out very well.

I told him of my transgender “nursing home paranoia”. In other words, being forced back in the closet at one of the most fragile times of one’s life. Or run the risk of just being abused. 

Ironically. he said he was trying to work out a “training” conference currently with at least one nursing home in the Cincinnati area. I told him I would be interested in helping.

Then we talked about the importance of just being visible for transgender women and trans men. Especially during an era when so many republican administrations are trying to take away our rights across the country. 

Plus,it was neat when he said the restaurant was “family” owned. Meaning it was owned by LGBT people. I noticed it immediately when I came in because of a huge rainbow flag which was in a corner.  

So, the deal was sealed over a great Italian lunch. I will help whenever I can with any transgender training sessions he schedules. Hopefully, any good karma I can build up will come back to help me in the future!