NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Decades of legal and structural discrimination have affected the well-being and economic status of many LGBTQIA+ seniors. 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 to stream on 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, program director for LGBTQ health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Gretchen Funk, program manager at FiftyForward; Reverend Dawn Bennett, Developer Pastor 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 documentary Aging with Pride.
NPT and FiftyForward will present a free in-person screening and discussion of Aging Matters: Aging with Pride on Wednesday, June 15 at 11 a.m. at FiftyForward’s Patricia Hart Building, 174 Rains Ave., Nashville, Tenn., 37203. The event includes a packed 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 of the Stonewall Generation have endured and fought for in hopes of impacting positive community change in the continued pursuit of equality. Additionally, the programs show how organizations and individuals are working to address loneliness and access to competent and empowered healthcare and assisted living communities.
“One of the reasons for the isolation for some of us is that we’ve lost most of our support network,” Joseph Interrante, retired CEO of Nashville CARES, explains in Aging with Pride. “It’s one of the experiences, especially [HIV] survivors, in terms of the number of people they knew and cared for who died.
“As we enter a new phase in our lives, … we recognize that there aren’t many places we can go that welcome us as a long-term lesbian married couple,” says Nancy VanReece, board member of Metro Nashville, in the documentary. . “And I’m not sure in the next 15 years I’ll see that in the state of Tennessee. It’s unfortunate, and I hope there will be a systematic change so
that we don’t have to leave the state to retire comfortably.
Aging with Pride was produced by NPT Executive Producer Megan Grisolano, who worked with a team of consulting producers from the LGBTQIA+ community. These producers are author John Bridges, who is featured in the documentary; Whitney Hess, senior technician, Nine PBS (St. Louis); and Dr. Marisa Richmond, Professor, Department of History and Women’s and 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
the documentary also incorporates music from LGBTQIA+ songwriters: “The Gender Line” written and sung by Cidny Bullens, which appears in the documentary, (from the album Walkin’ Through This World); “Summer Thunder” written by Blake Haney and Adam McPhail (from the Bottle Rockets, Booze, & Boys album) and “Stranger Things” written by Brent Snyder (from the Magenta EP).
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Aging with Pride on NPT are Wednesday, June 22 at 12:30 a.m.; Sunday 26 June, at 6.30 p.m.; and Friday, July 1 at 12:30 p.m. The LGBTQIA+ Resources in Middle Tennessee panel will rebroadcast 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 West End Home Foundation, Jeanette Travis Foundation, HCA Healthcare Foundation on behalf of Tri-Star Health and Cigna. Additional support was provided by the Jackson National Life Insurance Company and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
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