8 Interviews in Tucson’s Elder LGBT Communities

“Aging with Pride” by Penelope Starr

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“Death and dying is a taboo subject. Add to that the invisibility of being an elder lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) person and there is a lot to NOT talk about. What are the special problems this marginalized class of people might face and how are their needs being addressed? What are the challenges and strategies that are specific to the communities in addressing healthcare systems, social networks and end of life issues. Are there commonalities in the diverse communities that make up the alphabet soup of LGBT? How does Tucson measure up in providing appropriate support and services? These were some of the questions I asked myself as I prepared to become a “citizen folklorist” and delve into the nitty-gritty of LGBT death and dying…”

In this paper, Penelope Starr interviews the following 8 people:

  • Carolyn Carter, executor of deceased former partner’s estate
  • Merlin Spillers and Lee Roden, recently married couple that has been together for 45 years.
  • Phil Bossenbroek, peer counselor at Southern Arizona Aids Foundation
  • C. Michael Woodward, MPH, trans activist
  • Sandy Davenport, LMSW, Caregiver Specialist at Pima Council on Aging and coordinator of Project Visibility
  • Rev. Joe Fitzgerald, BA, MA, MAPC, Chaplain Supervisor at University of Arizona Health Network
  • Julie Kennedy Oehlert, DNP, BSN, RN, Vice President, Patient Experience at University of Arizona Health Network

»Read “Aging with Pride” by Penelope Starr…