Decades of legal and structural discrimination have affected the well-being and economic status of many LGBTQIA+ older adults. The unique social, economic and health challenges they face are explored in NPT’s Aging Matters: Aging with Pride, premiering Monday, June 20, at 9 p.m. and available for streaming at pbs.org.
The program will be followed at 9:30 p.m. by the premiere of LGBTQIA+ Resources in Middle Tennessee, a panel discussion with Del Ray Zimmerman, director of the Program for LGBTQ Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Gretchen Funk, chief program officer at FiftyForward; The Rev. Dawn Bennett, pastor developer at The Table; and Olivia Hill, a community leader. David Plazas, director of opinion and engagement at The Tennessean, moderates the discussion. Bennet, Hill and Zimmerman also appear in the Aging with Pride documentary.
NPT and FiftyForward will present a free in-person preview screening and discussion of Aging Matters: Aging with Pride Wednesday, June 15, at 11 a.m. at FiftyForward’s Patricia Hart building, 174 Rains Ave., Nashville, Tenn., 37203. The event includes a to-go lunch and is open to the public, but RSVPs are required at wnpt.org/events. Masks will be encouraged at the event.
The two new Aging Matters projects shine a light on what many in the Stonewall Generation have had to endure and fight for in the hopes of affecting positive community change in the ongoing pursuit of equality. In addition, the programs show how organizations and individuals are working to address loneliness and access to competent, affirming healthcare and assisted living communities.
“One of the reasons for isolation for some of us is that we’ve lost most of our support network,” says Joseph Interrante, retired CEO of Nashville CARES, in Aging with Pride. “That’s one of the experiences, especially of long-term [HIV] survivors, in terms of the number of people they have known and cared for who have passed away.”
“As we enter into a new phase in our lives, … we recognize that there’s not a whole lot of places that we can go that welcome us as a long-term lesbian married couple,” Metro Nashville council member Nancy VanReece says in the documentary. “And I’m not sure that within the next 15 years that I’m going to see that in the state of Tennessee. That’s unfortunate, and I’m hoping that there will be a systematic change so that we don’t have to leave the state in order to retire comfortably.”
Aging with Pride was produced by Megan Grisolano, NPT’s executive producer, who worked with a team of consulting producers from the LGBTQIA+ community. Those producers are author John Bridges, who is featured in the documentary; Whitney Hess, senior technician, Nine PBS (St. Louis); and Dr. Marisa Richmond, professor, Dept. of History and Women’s & Gender Studies at MTSU, who also appears in the documentary.
Everyone who appears in Aging with Pride is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. The documentary also incorporates music by LGBTQIA+ songwriters: “The Gender Line” written and sung by Cidny Bullens, who appears in the documentary, (from the album Walkin’ Through This World); “Summer Thunder” written by Blake Haney and Adam McPhaill (from the album Bottle Rockets, Booze, & Boys) and “Stranger Things” written by Brent Snyder (from the EP Magenta).
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Aging with Pride on NPT are Wednesday, June 22, at 12:30 a.m.; Sunday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m.; and Friday, July 1, at 12:30 a.m. The LGBTQIA+ Resources in Middle Tennessee panel will re-air Wednesday, June 22, at 1 a.m. and Sunday, July 17, at 6:30 p.m.
NPT’s Aging Matters series is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Healthcare Foundation on behalf of Tri-Star Health, and Cigna. Additional support was provided by Jackson National Life Insurance Company and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.