Ethos’ Out2Brunch Helps LBT Seniors Build Community

Staying connected to the community can be a challenge for any senior citizen, and that challenge is even greater for those who are LGBT. Studies have shown that this demographic is often more isolated from their biological families than non-LGBT seniors. Additionally, LGBT elders are less likely to seek out medical, social, and housing services due to fear of institutional homophobia and transphobia. There is a serious demand for safe, supportive, and accessible spaces for the LGBT senior community. A partnership between elder services organization Ethos and the LGBT Aging Project has created one such safe space in the form of Out2Brunch, a monthly meal and social gathering for LBT senior women in the greater Boston area.

Out2Brunch has its roots in Cafe Emmanuel, which was launched by Ethos in 2004 as the first federally-funded Congregate Meal Program for LGBT adults. According to Bob Linscott, Assistant Director of the LGBT Aging Project, there was a noticeable lack of women attending the Cafe Emmanuel meals. In the fall of 2007, Linscott and LGBT Aging Project Director Lisa Krinsky hosted a community conversation with a large group of older lesbians to assess their unique wants and needs.

“The information gathered from that event showed that the majority of women who would be eligible to attend a meal program were still working full time, unlike their [male] peers at Cafe Emmanuel, who are mostly all retired,” Linscott explained.

With this data in mind, Ethos and the LGBT Aging Project launched Out2Brunch on December 1, 2007 – the first Saturday of the month, to better accommodate working women. The event was a huge success, outgrowing its original location at Ethos within the first year. Out2Brunch has since moved to the Roslindale House and, according to Linscott, will soon be expanding from one to two monthly meetings. Each meeting features a catered meal, as well as entertainment, a group activity or discussion, or an educational session.

“I think this program provides a valuable service to the older lesbian community,” said Linscott. “We helped the women create a space that is their own and helped to build a community around a meal. Prior to Out2Brunch, there were very few – if any – programs specifically for older lesbian, bisexual, and trans women. Many people have connected to the older LBT women’s community for the first time through this meal.”

Additionally, Out2Brunch has served as a model for the LGBT Aging Project in its outreach efforts geared toward LGBT elders of color. “Like the women’s program, that is now gaining momentum as well,” Linscott said.

Out2Brunch occurs on the first Saturday of every month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Roslindale House, 120 Poplar Street, Roslindale, MA. The building is handicap accessible and parking is free. A suggested donation toward the cost of the meal is $1.75 for seniors and $5.00 for adults under 60.

To attend, please RSVP at outtobrunch@gmail.com or call 617.522.6700 x306.

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