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CEO Notes August 2016

CEO Notes August 2016

Our CEO, Dr. Imani Woody
Dr. Imani Woody

August 2016

Why Mary's House. Again.

People often ask, "Why do we need a place for LGBT old people to live? Don't we have enough nursing homes and retirement homes for them to use?"

So I often share the story of John, a well-to-do gay elder who was found deceased - in his welcoming, upscale retirement complex, after five days because he had ceased to interact with his friends. He had stopped going to church. He had stopped playing cards and going to the clubs. I sometimes share the sorrow of my older friend, Helen, who after the death of her life partner, was asked to leave the home they shared by her partner's siblings. And how she now lives with her brother, who she says "harasses me for my gay lifestyle."  

Aging as a LGBTQ/SGL person can bring different challenges than aging as a mainstream elder. Often, we don't have the same support network of children and spouses [read care-providers and pensions]; we may be estranged from our family of origin; we have lost many of our peers, our friends through the HIV/AIDs epidemic; and we as a group are more likely to live alone. In addition, research is verifying what many of us have known for a while: that the stigma and discrimination associated with being old and being LGBTQ/SGL can be just too hard. It can be so hard in fact that many of us go back into the closet. As we begin to access the senior/wellness centers, retirement complexes and nursing homes, this fear of discrimination makes us unable to be our whole selves, increasing the potential of drug and alcohol addiction, neglect of our health issues, depression, and suicide. Increased social isolation among LGBTQ/SGL elders is at an all-time high.

Mary's House for Older Adults, Inc. was organized to create welcoming environments for LGBTQ/SGL elders in their golden years. Our first major initiative is building a physical residence in Washington, DC for 15 elders. However, we acknowledge that we cannot BUILD enough LGBTQ/SGL welcoming spaces. So our mission includes training and education of the staff and residents of existing spaces - senior/ wellness centers, retirement complexes and nursing homes that serve and house us. We also are involved in public policy advocacy that impacts LGBTQ/SGL older adults and elders locally and nationally. We invite you to join our small, mighty band of volunteers and help us CHANGE our City and the Country, one residence at a time! Feel free to reach out to me at  or complete a volunteer application I look forward to hearing from you!
Warm regards,
Dr. Imani

CEO Notes Archive
May 2016