From Dr. Don Kilhefner:
L. A. Gay Community Launches Pioneering Gay Elder Project on July 31
July 31 marks the commencement of an innovative project aimed at bringing conscious eldering work into the Los Angeles gay community. It represents a pioneering effort not only for the local community, but is also having a national and international ripple effect.
On Sunday afternoon, July 31, 2011, a special kick-off event will be held at Fiesta Hall in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Gardner) in West Hollywood, 1 – 4 p.m., titled The Gay Elder: Archetype of the Spiritual Father. The event is sponsored by the Gay Elder Circle, a new not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization in the gay community. A suggested donation of $5 is requested.
The event will be digitally recorded for later distribution to the public as a DVD.
Gay Liberation pioneer and Jungian psychologist Don Kilhefner, president of the Gay Elder Circle, explained that “the Circle was organized to allow older gay men, many of whom have been active in creating and sustaining the gay community during the past forty years, to continue contributing, but now as aware elders. It is based on the traditional understanding that life is divided into four stages–youth, adult, elder, ancestor–each with its own roles and responsibilities.”
Highlights of the highly interactive inaugural event will be:
Welcome by West Hollywood Mayor John Duran;
A talk by Don Kilhefner titled “Growing Up and Growing Down: Abolishing Age Apartheid in the Gay Community;”
A panel discussion titled “Why Gay Elders Are Important?” The panel is moderated by spiritual counselor and teacher Allen Page and will consist of United Methodist pastor Ed Hansen, clinical psychologist Fred Wilkey, and John Ruggles, a psychotherapist and veteran of the Child Abuse Hotline.
The event is chaired by Allen Page and Ray Hogenson. Page stated that “the Gay Elder Circle is bringing the traditional role of elder into consciousness in the gay community. This role includes eldering of adults in the community, mentoring the young when adults are not available to fulfill their traditional role; transmitting history and spiritual tradition, and creating healthy community for seven generations yet to come.” Hogenson added: “The gay community as a visible, interdependent community is only forty years old. We are largely the first generation who can assume the role of awake elder.”
Topics to be discussed at the July 31 kick-off event include:
What is the difference between “olders” and “elders?”
Can there be a healthy gay community without functioning elders?
What are the roles and responsibilities of ancestors, elders, adults and youth?
What is meant by “the continuity of life” for gay people?
Why is Sacred Space created by elders in which to have community dialogues?
How do I become a member of the Gay Elder Circle?
Page and Hogenson both stated that an excellent understanding of the traditional role of an elder was best expressed by elder, shaman, and Buddhist teacher Roshi Joan Halifax when she stated: “The wisdom that we need to solve our problems lies encoded in the depths of our unconscious minds–but it must be evoked by elders who reveal our potential. Throughout history elders have served as beloved pathfinders, beckoning us to enter the province of old age in anticipation of growing strength and usefulness to society.”
More about the Gay Elder Circle and how to contact the Circle is found at www.gayeldercircle.org