Adelaide’s Rainbow Hub is celebrating queer elders


COTA Rainbow Hub
Logan Ruby and Cathy O'Connor at the 2021 Feast Picnic. Image: Supplied

Council Of The Ageing (COTA) South Australia’s Rainbow Hub is celebrating and supporting LGBTQIA+ elders. 

COTA’s Rainbow Hub collates a range of programs, services, events, and activities for LGBTQIA+ people over the age of 50.

Rainbow Hub project officer Jackie Wurm said until recently, there had been few services available to older LGBTQIA+ people.

In 2018, COTA released a report on LGBTQIA+ people and ageing well.

The report found that LGBTQIA+ people require particular attention due to their experience of discrimination and the limited recognition of their needs by service providers and in policy frameworks and accreditation processes.

“I remember feedback from someone saying that six years ago, that there was just nothing in this space,” Ms Wurm said.

“And now there are options and it’s growing all the time.”

Rainbow Hub COTA Burra
A Rainbow Hub gathering in regional SA. Image: Supplied

Rainbow Hub hosts a range of programs

Currently, the Rainbow Hub is hosting writing workshops- providing the opportunity for queer elders to share and record their stories.

The writing workshops are part of the Rainbow Memories program, that aims to challenge invisibility and celebrate queer history.

Additionally, COTA recently launched Rainbow Horizons, an initiative to help LGBTQIA+ elders with their end-of-life planning.

Ms Wurm said that planning for end-of-life and ensuring your will is up to date are key considerations for the queer community.

Compared to the greater population, LGBTQIA+ people often have chosen family in lieu of biological family.

“It’s about being clear about who’s important in your life, and what you want to happen towards the end of your life,” she said.

“Letting the people around you, and that might be family, chosen family or friends, know what your wishes are, and having those conversations.”

Ms Wurm said Rainbow Horizons helped people make that first step to document their wishes, and identify their support people.

While COTA has implemented a range of initiatives over the past five years, Ms Wurm said that there remained work to be done.

“I think generally, there’s more conversation in the community,” she said.

“There’s been a gradual shift, but there’s so much work to do as well. It’s an ongoing project.”

For more information, or to get involved. Visit the COTA website, or contact Jackie on (08) 8232 0422.

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