Telling Our Stories

Our senior LGBTQI stories are important and valuable. On this page, you will find organizations or individuals who are collecting our stories as well as venues where you can share your story or hear the stories of others.

The ACLU of Arizona

As part of its campaign to educate Arizonans about discrimination against LGBTQ people, the ACLU of Arizona is collecting stories from LGBTQ and allied Arizonans who have experienced discrimination. Denied housing because of sexual orientation or gender identity? Refused service in a restaurant or other public business because of being LGBT? Stories of discrimination will help the effort to pass non-discrimination legislation in Arizona.

»Learn more on the ACLUAZ site (English)…
»Learn more on the ACLUAZ site (Spanish)…

Aging with Pride by Penelope Starr

“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…

Arizona Queer Archives (AQA)

The Arizona Queer Archives (AQA) is a collecting archives that receives collections and documents communities. , The AQA is directed by Jamie A. Lee, Ph.D., and is housed at the UA Institute for LGBT Studies. The AQA is available as a site of scholarly and community research by appointment. Some collections are available for community display.

To learn how you can participate in the exciting project of building our histories and providing opportunities for scholarly inquiry and community access, subscribe to our newsletter, The Noteworthy.

For more info, contact us by email and/or visit the AQA website.

Old Lesbians Oral Herstory Project (OLOHP)

Do you identify as a lesbian? Are you at least 70 years old? If so, the OLOHP would LOVE to hear your life story! OLOHP has been collecting the stories of “old lesbians” since 1997, documenting the unique experiences of women born in the first half of the twentieth century. Your personal life story will be added to the collection of over 400 other women’s stories being archived for research purposes at Smith College.

You will receive a bound copy of your story, which includes a transcript of your one-on-one interview and any photos or other documents that you would like included that illustrate or supplement your narrative. All interviews are confidential, and you can choose the conditions under which the project can use material from your interview.

If you are interested in sharing your story, OLOHP will be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have. Contact: Dana at, Beck at or Judi at

»Learn more about OLOHP at their web site…

Out Loud and Proud

91.3 KXCI Community Radio invites the LGBTS community to share coming out and related personal stories. The LGBTS Alliance Fund administered by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has made possible Outloud and Proud, a mini program devoted to sharing the stories of the LGBT/S community on 91.3 KXCI Community Radio. Each contributor tells her/his story in a five minute piece broadcast on KXCI. Rick Small is host and producer.

»Listen to Season 1…

Interested in sharing your story? Email Out Loud and Proud or call (520) 834-7342.

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

SAGE is now offering you the opportunity to share your story. What is your experience as an LGBT consumer or advocate or provider?

»Go to the Share Your Story page on the SAGE website…