a publication of the sexuality and aging consortium at widener university

How do you talk about Orlando?

In the aftermath of the terrible massacre of mostly young LGBTQ individuals celebrating life at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, we wanted to share something personal with all of you.  One of our members, Joan Garrity, and her co-facilitator in HIV counseling training, Christopher Camp, received this email from Shane Bryan, a young gay man and Assistant Director of the Student Outreach Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University, for whose student-members Joan & Chris provide training.  At the Consortium we practice being allies for each other.  We don’t always know what to say in moments like this and don’t always know that our ally role is of value. With Shane’s permission, Joan shared his words.

On August 4th, you can learn more about sex and aging and our extraordinary community when you attend the Sexuality and Aging Training Institute, at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. And we promise to give you the most recent data, a joyful learning environment, and up to six CE credits! To learn more, just click here to register. And remember, members of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium can use the promo code AGING for a discount. We’d love to hear from you. You can email us at SAConsortium@widener.edu or engage with us on Facebook and Twitter. Every Friday, we have a Twitter fest on #sexaginginsights. Engaging with us can help you in your work – and it keeps you closer to our community. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Good morning,
     The horrific massacre this past weekend has left me full of emotions, of questions and of deep sorrow. I have spent a good amount of time reflecting over the past couple of days. Thinking about what it has been like for me to come out to my parents, family and friends in South Dakota over the past couple of years. How when I was growing up, I denied the fact that I was gay. I’ve thought about how moving to Maryland allowed for me to start exploring ways to love myself for who I was. The LGBTQ community and allies in Maryland made me feel comfortable and safe to be me.
          I know that sense of community and acceptance didn’t just happen. There have been countless advocates and supporters for the LGBTQ community that have pushed Maryland to a place of acceptance. Those people often do this work with little to no recognition. I know you both have committed your lives, your sweat and your tears to creating a more welcoming community in Baltimore and this region. I want to say thank you for all you have done. For the endless nights, for the support you’ve provided to loved ones and complete strangers, for the guidance, for the heartbreak, I want to say thank you.
          I, however, will do more than send you this email of thanks. While I think it is important you know my generation of LGBTQ people are eternally grateful for the groundwork you have laid, I want you to know that we will continue to fight for LGBTQ rights and acceptance. We will not turn our love into hate. We will not only support the generations before us, but we will strive to make you proud. We won’t allow for hate to bring us down. We will learn from history and continue to move forward.
          I know you don’t hear thanks enough and that my generation doesn’t do enough to show our gratitude or even try to learn the history of the struggles before us. This morning I want you to know that I thank you. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work with you these past two years and look forward to seeing you in the fall. So until then, I send you a heart full of appreciation and thanks.
With love to you,


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