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    San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women Honors Dr. Marcy Adelman

    All of us here at the San Francisco Bay Times congratulate columnist Dr. Marcy Adelman, who was recently recognized by the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women “for her tremendous contribution to older LGBT women in San Francisco and the Bay Area.”

    The resolution cited Dr. Adelman’s groundbreaking and influential research on LGBT seniors. Her research determined that such individuals are more likely than heterosexuals of their own age to live alone, to not have children and to not be partnered. These findings contribute important demographic information to the understanding of potential challenges in the lives of LGBT seniors.

    The Commission also acknowledged Dr. Adelman’s decades of advocacy and policy work on behalf of LGBT older adults and seniors, including her most recent efforts to reduce barriers to care for LGBT older adults living with dementia. The resolution additionally commended both Dr. Adelman and her late partner Jeanette Gurevitch for founding Openhouse, a San Francisco non-profit dedicated to securing LGBT-friendly senior housing and services to better meet the needs of older LGBT adults. Dr. Adelman’s current service as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Aging and Adult Services was also recognized.

    We are very proud of Dr. Adelman’s many achievements on behalf of our community, which are far too numerous to include here. She is a great role model, whose vital, ongoing work will benefit many generations now as well as in the years to come.

    The End of August

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    When I was growing up in Massachusetts, the end of August was about looking forward to school, to cooler and more comfortable weather, to leaves turning bright red and golden yellow, and to the smell of apples in all stages of ripeness. August is also my birthday month. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to be older. Now that I am older, I take great pleasure in the age I have achieved.

    This August, the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women recognized my years of service creating policies, services and programs to meet the needs of LGBT elders and older LGBT women, in particular. I am proud and honored to be acknowledged by the Commission. There is something very special about being recognized by women leaders in the community.

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    I could have chosen to speak about data points and current and future needs of our aging community. After all, that is what I do. We can, however, be so busy working for change and striving to further social justice and quality of life issues that we forget to celebrate our histories, our pioneers and how far we have come. So instead I chose to speak of the lesbians who came before us: the women of previous generations who courageously loved other women and who lived lesbian lives   but out of necessity had to hide their sexual orientation or be vulnerable to losing custody of their children and losing the support of their families.

    When I started my LGBT advocacy work more than three decades ago, these were the women whose stories I told, whose courage I admired and on whose shoulders we stand. In 1986 I edited a collection of life stories as told by old lesbians, Long Time Passing: Lives of Older Lesbians (Alyson Books). It was deeply satisfying to bring the lives of these amazing women into the Commission meeting so that they could be recognized and honored along with me.