Old Lesbians Organizing for Change looks to confront ageism and the exclusion of the elderly when discussing social change.
When organizing for social change, elderly folks are often off the radar.
Old Lesbians Organizing for Change is a national organization that takes two oppressed groups — senior citizens and lesbians — and provides a space for their voices to be heard.
Rev. Jan Griesinger, former co-director and current treasurer of OLOC will host a Brown Bag lunch discussion about ageism, specifically to lesbians, Thursday at 12 p.m in the Ohio University Women’s Center.
“(Ageism) is the idea that it’s always better to be young, that the old is bad and stupid,” Griesinger said. “We are patronized, ignored and humiliated.”
According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of people said they would be less likely to vote for someone "in their 70s,” and according to another survey, the elderly are at the highest risk for suicide. These are just a few of the topics that Griesinger said she hopes to not only bring up discussion about, but also work on changing.
Griesinger added that they will also talk about issues geared toward elderly lesbian women, specifically how nursing homes are trained in dealing with lesbians.
“(The goal is to) make sure they’re welcoming, that they understand not everybody comes to the nursing home as a grandmother; not everybody has a husband or had a husband,” Griesinger said. “(We want to make sure) that their staff is trained and make sure that they welcome lesbians and also talk about it at large so that it’s not a hidden topic that never comes up.”
Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator of the Women’s Center, said ageism is an important topic to focus on because she believes society shames folks for aging.
“Aging is something we all do, and it’s important that we listen to and value the knowledge of those who have gained experience through years,” Jenkins said in an email. “The topic is important because our society focuses and reveres youth in a way that often shames folks for aging.”
Jenkins said she’s looking forward to learning from OLOC’s wisdom and hearing about upcoming activities.