How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
Sharing what has motivated and moved me to make a difference in my own life. 80% of success (ie, being a catalyst for change) is just showing up (Woody Allen). The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. (Wikipedia). How does this apply to being a catalyst for change? It means that 80% of success in making change is just showing up, but only 20% of the people do it (probably even less). Folks at CatalystCon East are in that 20% and ready to make change, especially as that change applies to the diverse field of sexuality.
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
One of my favorite quotes that inspires me as a catalyst is from Howard Thuman, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. “Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
The societal values and norms that permeate our culture, media, policies, and laws that view sexuality as a narrow, heterosexist construct. Sexuality is a social construction and as such reflects the judgments of society. For example, our society assumes that older adults are asexual and without sexual desires, thus impacting their access to information about pleasure, intimacy, and safer sex. For those of us who identify other than male/female/heterosexual, we are often subjected to discrimination, prejudice, and numerous encounters of homo/bi/trans phobia. Our society has little tolerance and understanding of the variances within sexuality.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
CatalystCon East! Creating Change Conference (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force). Marriage equality cases being heard by the Supreme Court.
Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, The Silver Rainbow: Working with LGBT Seniors, to CatalystCon East?
Long overlooked and invisible in society at large, older LGBT people are beginning to emerge as a distinct community. 2012 is the first year our baby boomers are turning 65—our society is going to see dramatic growth of this age demographic and with that, growth in the number of LGBT folks. While LGBT seniors share many of the same aging related issues as their hetero counterparts, they also confront special challenges as well. LGBT seniors may face social discrimination due to their age as well as their sexual orientation or gender identity. Older LGBT people often experience homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia when trying to access healthcare or elder care services. They may also confront age discrimination within LGBT community organizations.
Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, What’s Your “Bi-Q”?., to CatalystCon East?
Bisexual individuals are in many ways a hidden population. When recognized, bisexuality is often viewed as being part gay and part straight, rather than being its own unique identity. Further, bisexual individuals face not only discrimination confronting the LGT community because of their non-heterosexuality, but also resistance from the LGT community. Participants will increase their understanding of bisexuality and become savvy when working with the diversity of our sexuality.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
I am an avid cyclist and used to spend my summers leading bicycle tours. Highlights include riding from Maine to Florida and cycling 800 miles in 8 days throughout central Florida. I also enjoy hiking and climbed three CO “14-teeners” in three days.