© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How LGBT seniors are showing up for Wisconsin's Aging Advocacy Day

Maayan Silver
Wisconsin's State Capital building in Madison

May 14 is the eighth annual Aging Advocacy Day, organized by the Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network, or WAAN. Older adults from across the state are meeting in Madison for training to connect with other residents from their districts and then meet with their legislators and representatives.

The goal of the day is to share their personal stories and paint a clear picture of issues the senior population is facing, specifically from a policy and proposal angle.

Christie Carter, Milwaukee LGBT Center's aging and disability program coordinator, has been attending since the event started. She goes to advocate on behalf of the older LGBTQ population in the state and makes sure to bring a few speakers with her each time. She says that while she'll always hear new concerns, there are issues that keep popping up.

"Issues like feeling like they have to go back into the closet when they receive home care or assisted living care," says Carter. "Transportation issues, because maybe they can't drive anymore [or] their families or origin live in rural areas and their friends are getting older."

Christie Carter, Milwaukee LGBT Center's aging and disability program coordinator
Provided by Christie Carter
Christie Carter, Milwaukee LGBT Center's aging and disability program coordinator

Carter says there's a lot of cross over between everyday issues of being an older adult, like dealing transportation issues or dealing with insurance, but there are specific issues to being an LGBT senior. She likened Aging Advocacy Day to a springboard that let's someone get to know their state representative and feel empowered that they'll be listened to.

"It can lead to more resources in your future when other things come up," Carter said. "I think for older adults, who may not have families of origin and have their own families of choice, to have someone else in their corner when it's already difficult is a great thing."

Carter says we've come a long way collectively in advocating for older adults, but we still have a way to go. And it's on everyone, not just seniors or LGBTQ folks, to demand change.

"After all the fighting they've done for us in the movement, it's our job to support them because we, too, will be where they are today."


Jimmy is a WUWM producer for Lake Effect.
Related Content