The LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club returns to the Ainslie Arts Centre for its second iteration this Sunday (15 November) – a celebration with an important mission.
Not only will the event create a safe space in which elders can engage in healthy physical activity through dance, it also aims to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex people over the age of 50 can express themselves without judgment.
A partnership between All the Queens Men and Meridian, one attendee said the Elder’s Dance Club makes those who are often “marginalised, neglected, invisible, lonely, feel valued, important, beautiful and cared about”.
This is because events such as the Dance Club aim to foster social connection, peer-to-peer exchange and support, and strengthen community ties in the older LGBTIQ+ community.
The event is organised by Tristan Meecham, one half of the founding duo and director of All the Queens Men – a self-described ‘independent’ and ‘radical’ arts organisation which aims to initiate positive social change by creating strong partnerships with community groups.
Another event organised by All the Queens Men is the ‘Coming Back Out Ball’, a night to celebrate the elders of the LGBTIQ+ community and acknowledge they have lived through times in which being LGBTIQ+ could have resulted in imprisonment, enforced medical ‘cures’ and isolation.
For some elders, ageing has been marked by the fear of having to go ‘back into the closet’ so they are not denied access to aged care and social support services. Isolation and loneliness – phenomena which affect all elderly people – has been shown to be particularly acute for LGBTIQ+ elders.