Archives GLBT Health Items
|Sex Drugs - A matter of life and death?|
Their Today Be Our Tomorrow?
A Look At Gay & Lesbian Elder Abuse
Doreen E. Fiorillo, M.A.
Now that I am approaching 50, I seem to have a better sense of my own mortality. Even though I know intellectually that my upcoming birthday is a mile marker on my life path, I somehow cannot grasp this emotionally. No doubt that I am very aware of my bodies aging but my mind feels so young. I am more self-confident and more inclined to put my ideas into practice. In fact, “Gray n Gay Resources” may be the greatest undertaking I’ve ever set out to accomplish. I feel very committed to this program. I have seen first hand how older people in general are treated in this country. It is my fear that the gay & lesbian elders will be treated with utter distain and disrespect simply because of our orientation.
Do not think for a minute that this will not happen. It is happening as we speak. Elder abuse is a disturbing fact within our society. When you compound that with homophobia it can have disastrous consequences. Many may not want to think about this growing problem, but we must. We will be the old people of tomorrow and it will be us that are battered, bruised and neglected. A very bleak picture of our future but no doubt an accurate one for some of us if we do not act now.
The gay & lesbian elders of today are considered an “invisible” population. Mostly because these elders hide who they are and many do not identify as being gay or lesbian. This may be one of several reasons why there have been no studies done on gay & lesbian elder abuse to this date. This is simply an unacceptable condition. The stigma of being gay or lesbian has made such an impression on the elder psyche that they go to great extremes to keep their orientation secret. Some, to the extent of refusing help or care from social workers and health care providers. This sets in motion a condition of self-neglect to avoid becoming dependent on providers and the homophobic motivated treatment that they expect from these providers.
This is a group that is isolated with sometimes, self-imposed isolation due to fear of other people’s homophobic reactions. Many refuse to attend senior center’s that provide activities and social interaction. In addition, they reject senior housing sighting that they have nothing in common with the heterosexual peers. Entering a nursing home may be their greatest fear.
In Loree Cook-Daniels paper on gay & lesbian elder abuse, she sites one elderly gay man’s experience with a home care assistant that threatened to “out” him if he reported her negligent care. She shares another such experience of an elderly lesbian in a nursing home. This woman was neglected and disrespected when the staff refused to bathe her because they did not want to touch “the lesbian”.
Though Ms. Cook-Daniels study is informal, she has cared enough to begin a “speculative venture” into this life condition that no one up to now has bothered to examine. I now ask each one of you to become an advocate for the gay & lesbian elderly. Here are some of my suggestions for advocacy:
The important thing is to get involved. Help to facilitate change because the elderly will be you one day and that day may not be far away.
Source: Gay & Lesbian Elder Abuse by Loree Cook-Daniels, www.times10.org/elder.htm
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Vol. III Issue 4 February 2002
Doreen E. Fiorillo, M.A.
Gray n Gay Resources
Retirement is a stage of
life that many of us look forward to in the future. For those of us over 50
years old, the future is close at hand. Will you be prepared to move into
retirement on your own terms or will it be thrust upon you by an outside force?
Retirement is a mystery for
many gay & lesbian baby boomers. We have only a heterosexual model of what
retirement life should look like. Do we need to redefine retirement for
ourselves or are we o.k. with the majority model. The answer to this question
exists in defining the needs of our community and comparing them as similarities
and differences to our heterosexual counterparts.
Currently, there is little
research on these needs. However, some of the research that has been done
indicates that there are more similarities then differences because much of the
process of aging is universal. Our financial and health & medical needs are
of primary concern to most of the aging population.
Will our social security and
medicare benefits be enough? For many, they will not be enough. Most of us will
need other resources to draw upon the older we grow. Nevertheless, there are
issues specific to our community that are of great concern. One such concern is
the fear of being shut-out by the younger gay & lesbian community. If we
have not already established a network of friendships over the years, younger
people may not accept us because we are old.
In addition, our aging
community concerns reflect the concerns of our younger generation in which we
all lack the societal protections that heterosexuals take for granted. This
concern intensifies as we grow older.
We Boomers, as a generation,
have created movements for change unparalleled in history. This is one more
fight where we must succeed to improve the quality of life for ourselves and
generations to come. We must, both young and not so young, unite and make sure
our voices are heard.
Sources; Gray Gays by William Mann. May 1997.
Boston Phoenix Archive.
Gay & Lesbian Aging by Linda M. Woolfe. May, 1998.
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Vol. I Issue 11 June 3, 2000
Sent in by Member Risatoyou
Subject: Please Read!! This is scary!
Think about what people can learn from
bits and pieces of online "chat" about our children!
Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster. "You're being silly," she told herself, "no one is following you." To be safe, she began to walk faster, but the footsteps kept up with her pace. She was afraid to look back and she was glad she was almost home. Shannon said a quick prayer, "God please get me home safe." She saw the porch light burning and ran the rest of the way to her house. Once inside, she leaned against the door for a moment, relieved to be in the safety of her home. She glanced out the window to see if anyone was there. The sidewalk was empty.
After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message: ByAngel213: Hi I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird! GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood? ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out. GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you? ByAngel213: Of course not. I'm not stupid you know. GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today? ByAngel213: Yes and we won!! GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play? ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL GoTo123: What is your team called? ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really kewl. GoTo123: Did you pitch? ByAngel213: No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye! GoTo123: Catch you later. Bye
Meanwhile......GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far. Her name: Shannon Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985 Age:13 State where she lived: North Carolina Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the seventh grade at the Canton Junior High School. She had told him all this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to find her now.
Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ball park that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.
By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her. Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her.It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely. He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the fear she had felt. After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her.
Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car. Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room. "Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa. "Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you." Shannon moved cautiously to a chair across from the man. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!
"Do you know who I am Shannon?" The man asked. "No," Shannon answered. "I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123." Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!" The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You see Shannon there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to find kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to give out too much information to people on-line. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. Your name, the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze." Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan?" He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?" She nodded. "I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time on-line. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again." "I won't," Shannon promised solemnly.
"Will you tell others about this
so they will be safe too?" "It's a
promise!" That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all
knelt down together and prayed. They thanked God for
protecting Shannon from what could have been a tragic situation.
Please send this to as many people as you can to teach them not to give any information about themselves. This world we live in today is too dangerous to even give out your age, let alone anything else. Please Be Safe.
NOTE: Great advice for kids as well as adults!!! Thanks Risatoyou!
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Vol. I Issue 10 April 30, 2000
For Your Information
Sent in by Member RKDruen. many thanks and I will think Twice before that next can of soda!
A stock clerk was sent to clean up a storeroom at their Maui, Hawaii location. When he got back, he was complaining that the storeroom was really filthy, and that he had noticed dried mouse or rat droppings in some areas. Couple of days later, he started feeling like he was coming down with stomach flu, achy joints, headache, and he started throwing up. He went to bed and never really got up. Within two days he was so ill and weak. His blood sugar count was down to 66 and his face and eyeballs were yellow. He was rushed to the emergency at Pali Momi, where they said he was suffering from massive organ failure! He died shortly before midnight. None of us would have ever made the connection between his job and his death, but the doctors specifically asked if he had been in a warehouse or exposed to dried rat or mouse droppings at any time. They said there is a virus (much like Hanta virus) that lives in dried rat and mouse droppings. Once dried, these droppings are like dust, and can easily be or ingested if a person is not careful to wash their hands and face thoroughly, or wear protective gear. An autopsy was conducted to verify the doctors' suspicions. This is why it is extremely important to ALWAYS carefully rinse off the tops of any canned sodas or foods, and wipe off pasta packaging, cereal boxes, etc. Almost everything you buy in a supermarket was stored in a warehouse at one time or another, and stores themselves often have rodents. Most of us remember to wash vegetables and fruit but never think of boxes and cans. The ugly truth is........ even the most modern, upper-class, super store has rats and mice. And their Warehouse most assuredly does. Whenever you buy any canned soft drink, please make sure that you wash the top with running water and soap, or if not available, drink with a straw. A family friend's friend died after drinking a can of soda! A brief investigation by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta discovered the cause. The top was encrusted with dried rat's urine which is toxic and obviously lethal!!!! Canned drinks and other food stuffs are stored in warehouses and containers that are usually infested with rodents and then get transported to the retail outlets without being properly cleaned. Please forward this message to the people you care about.
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Vol. I Issue 18 April 30, 2001
Sex Drugs - A matter of life and death?
By Chris Morris
>From the Big Issue (www.bigissue.com)
It was five years ago that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) prosecuted
Millivres, the publishing company behind Gay Times, for selling Poppers - an
unlicensed sex drug that some scientists believe can cause AIDS in gay men.
The trial was surrounded by controversy. Was this a homophobic witch hunt
because the drug was primarily used within the queer community? Could a drug really cause AIDS? Angry activists from OutRage! protested against the RPS's "homophobia" while gay journalists reassured their readers that Poppers are wonderful, safe and an essential part of gay life. The prosecution was just
part of the Tory government's campaign of prejudice, they said.
Their protestations proved insincere when the prosecution barrister revealed
that his case was driven by the concerns of AIDS activists, most of whom
were gay men. These activists claimed that Amyl, Butyl and Isobutyl
Nitrite - the main ingredients of Poppers - could seriously damage the
immune system of those who inhaled them, and they said they'd been lobbying
the gay press, OutRage! and others for years. Cass Mann, one of the key
prosecution witnesses and now President of the Gay Mens' AIDS Forum, says
that the "gay establishment" simply wasn't interested.
"I felt at the time, and I still feel now, that these businesses and individuals are more interested in making money than saving lives. They refused even to look at the evidence", he told me.
He believes that, five years on, people are still in danger because the health risks have not been properly publicised. "Not only the linkage to AIDS defining illnesses, such as KS, but the effects to the heart and lungs as well."
Mann is expected to appear for the prosecution in a new case, this time bought by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), which is being heard at the Old Bailey this week. The target is now the companies that manufacture Poppers, and the MCA hopes finally to bring illegal production to an end.
I think they'll have quite a fight on their hands. The Poppers industry is estimated to be worth over £8m in the UK, and it's very easy money. A bottle
of the drug costs around 30p to produce and it retails for around ten times that. The money spent on advertising also helps to prop up the freebie gay press - and journalists never bite the hand that feeds them. Coverage is skewed towards maintaining the status quo.
Some of the gay press also have a direct financial interest in promoting Poppers. The company behind Gay Times, for example, continues to sell the
lucrative drug in its chain of sex shops.
Does this affect Gay Times's coverage? After discussions at board level, the
magazine's marketing director said the company was unwilling to comment.
Other gay magazines, including All Points North and North of Watford, are
also published by businessman who have an interest in selling Poppers.
But Tristan Donovan, news editor of the Pink Paper, denies that commercial
interests have prevented his 'paper from running health warnings about Poppers. "It's just not really come up as an issue", he told me. "There really hasn't been much happening to make it a story. We're news-led and there hasn't been a news story surrounding it."
He also says that he hasn't received any of the letters or press releases that activists worried about Poppers have sent him.
Even if the MCA succeeds next week, the chances of stopping illegal sales is
small. The drug was outlawed in the United States in 1989 but it is still widely available in gay clubs - it just costs more and has less quality control.
John Lauritsen, the American author of Death Rush: Poppers and AIDS, doesn't believe that banning the drug is the answer. "Our task is to get the word out, that Poppers really are dangerous. We have to counteract the
misinformation that has been disseminated - not only by the Poppers industry, but also by sections of the gay press and AIDS organisations."
Chris Morris is editor of Outcast magazine (www.outcastmagazine.co.uk).
You can also visit his personal site at www.chrismorris.com
Message originated from firstname.lastname@example.org
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