SPN 2014 Conference

The Senior Pride Network was excited to announce their first ever lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer intergenerational conference, Opening the Closet on Aging: Wired to Connect.

Dates: Sunday June 22nd and Monday June 23rd, 2014
Location: The 519 Community Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This year we accepted proposals from local, national and international presenters whose work focuses on intergenerational topics in LGBTQ communities. We encouraged proposals from LGBTQ community members, artists, community activists, academics, and service providers.

This was the 8th Opening the Closet on Aging conference the SPN hosted, though it was the first intergenerational conference. It was unique opportunity for community members and professionals to create space for older and younger LGBTQ people, and a chance to share knowledge and skills, as well as build intergenerational social networks and connections. Over 120 people of all ages were in attendance, and it was attended by community members, students, Executive Directors, front line staff, management, artists, community leaders, reporters, and the general public.

 To kick off this year's conference we also hosted a fundraiser dance, Time After Time on April 26th. This was an intergenerational dance attended by over 150 people from ages 8 to 80+. We cohosted the Rainbow Bridges Festival in partnership with Sunshine Centre for Seniors on Sunday June 22, 2014. This was the first annual festival and was held on Ward’s Island. Our last event associated with the conference was the reception, held the evening of Monday June 23rd, after the conference.

A big thank you to everyone who helped make this year's conference so successful, including volunteers, SPN committee members, presenters, artists, donors, partners, our keynote speaker, SPN members, and 519 staff. We couldn’t do it without you! 

Some of the presentations included:

Connecting Through Kuwento: Conversations of Younger and Elderly Queer Filipinos. A presentation on the intergenerational story telling practice which used by elderly Queer Filipinos;

TRANS-GENERATING: Black Queer Youth and Black & Brown Elders Connecting. A panel that focuses on the Internet as a way to bring together LGBTI elders and youth of colour across the generations towards greater community solidarity.

Community Expression Through Collage. This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about the use of art as a tool to better understand our own health and the health of our community. This workshop will be fun, informative and full of creativity!

Hidden Rainbow: Queers with Disabilities. A workshop on the inclusion of LGBTQ persons with disabilities;

A Day in the Life: Together We Are Not Alone, Rainbow Bridges Across Generations. An experimental arts’ based workshop that uses story telling techniques to capture collective and personal histories;

Intergenerational collaborations and mentorship. A workshop on the intergenerational PHA mentorship program, The Legacy Project. Presenters will use this project as a springboard to engage participants in sharing experiences, insights and ideas about successful models and potential projects that would foster intergenerational collaborations within and beyond the LGBT communities.

Growing Up LGBT2SQ. A panel conversation about growing up LGBT2SQ across generations and in multiple countries/regions, with a focus on human rights and developing communities.

A community conversation about loss and resilience across generations of LGBTQ communities.An arts based presentation of LGBTQ language that bridges terminology across generations.

An arts based presentation of LGBTQ language that bridges terminology across generations.

Hook, a large-scale, interactive public hooking installation that will take place at The 519 during the conference.

Articles featuring the 2014 conference

Maclean's. LGBT Baby Boomers find themselves fighting homophobia, again

XTRA. Toronto seniors gear up for WorldPride