Community Advocates

The Senior Pride Network celebrates the rich history and diversity of older LGBT communities by profiling those who have and continue to advocate for inclusive spaces and services. Here, we promote the work of older LGBT adults and create a network where skills and experiences can be shared.
Featured Community Advocate: Kim Chee Lee
 2014
Photo by Kourosh Keshiri
What's your name? Kim Chee Lee

How old are you? 82

What do you do?

I am an active volunteer with The 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto for their older lesbian, gay, bi and trans persons' drop-in program. I often help out in the kitchen, chopping and cooking. I stuff condoms for the Aids Committee of Toronto (ACT) which are then delivered to schools, public places and bath houses. I write stories and will be a reader at Queer Confessions: An LGBTQ Memoir Reading Series in January and February at The 519. Currently, I am making a documentary about LGBTQ community leaders and activists for the Inside Out Film Festival. Four times a year I volunteer for the Counterpoint Orchestra by helping to provide snacks and beverages during intermission to the attendees, and I collect donations for the orchestra. I was recently asked to hand out certificates to students graduating from a community studies program. I've participated in the LGBT Seniors Speakers Bureau where I educated management and staff on how they can make nursing homes more gay friendly.

Why is community involvement important to you?

Community involvement keeps me healthy, young, and busy. It is nice to recognized by people. My family lives in British Columbia. The LGBTQ community is a part of my family. I also attend a seniors drop-in program at the Toronto Reference Library and the intergenerational programming at Sunshine Centres for Seniors.

How have you seen the community change over your life time?

We have come a long way but we still have a lot of work to do. The world is beginning to accept us and understand a little bit about us. In so many ways we are still struggling. Gay people need to be kind to one another.

​Previously featured Community Advocates

Featured Community Advocate Winter/Spring 2016:
Shoshana Pellman

"I still want to keep educating people, I have to continue. I think that’s the definition of being brave: you’re not fearless, right? In spite of the fear I’m out there. And I am going to continue doing that." ​See full profile here.
​Featured Community Advocate Summer/Fall 2015: 
Lezlie Lee Kam

"I identify as a brown, Carib, Trini, Callaloo dyke. I use the word dyke, in terms of reclaiming it and as a political statement. As far back as I can remember, as soon as I came out, I’ve been a community activist and now I am a volunteer with theCanadian Cancer Society Get Screened Program, the Senior Pride Network Advisory Committee, Pride Toronto, The 519 Church Street Community Centre and at Bridgepoint Rehabilitation Hospital." ​See full profile here.
Featured Community Advocate Winter/Spring 2015:
Annette Clough

"The thing I am most proud of is my family. That we never went into the closet in order to preserve our daughter’s feelings or to protect her that way. That wasn’t the right example to set for her, to set up a life of deception even though she went through her hard years because of it, no doubt. We kept being who we are all through her life and she came through the hard years. She actually became a queer activist in high school and started the first gay/straight alliance in her high school. … She really moved from being seriously in the closet when she was younger to being an activist. And now she couldn’t be more proud of who we are and what we’ve done, so I’m proud of her, I’m proud of my family for being an out and proud lesbian family." See full profile here.
​If you would like more information on a featured advocate, or if you know somebody that we should showcase, please write to ​spntoronto@gmail.com.
At 81

I might be old
I still have feelings
I still enjoy looking at
beautiful flowers
sexy men

I still feel sexy
in my mind
in my own world

I will never get old
I will just end up
in the Happy Hunting Ground
~
Kim Chee Lee
Kim Chee was featured in the Grid's Tales From the LGBTQ Trenches, an article examining the diverse experiences of Toronto's LGBTQ population. Kim Chee also has a website.
If you would like more information on a featured advocate, or if you know somebody that we should showcase, please write to spn@519.org.
For SPN Advisory Committee only.