July 17–19, 2009
By Judy Benson, 1946
OLOC Regional Gathering a Huge Success
The OLOC Regional Gathering got under way in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon, July 17, 2009, with a mixer led by Dr. Jean Boudreaux (Shewolf). This informal activity invited women to connect with new people, to set meeting times, and to gather contact information.
After dinner, we were welcomed by a representative from Columbia’s mayor, followed by an inspiring address by Harriet Hancock, who spoke on “Activism as We Age.” Harriet, who was instrumental in forming South Carolina Pride, PFLAG, and the Harriet Hancock Center, which supports LGBT programs, told her story of being awakened to LGBT concerns through her gay son’s coming out process.
OLOC’s Carole Stoneking was presented with the prestigious “Order of the Pink Palmetto Award,” and Paige Averette from East Carolina State University summarized her online study of Old Lesbians. The day concluded with an inspiring concert by Barbara Ester and Beth York. Old Lesbians deserve a good time and day one delivered.
Saturday opened bright and early with a line dancing workshop led by Sally Tatnall. With our energy level high, we enjoyed a panel discussion on “Old Pride” presented by Steering Committee members Myra Brahms, Carole Stoneking, Ruth Debra, and Sally Tatnall. Small group discussions followed with everyone being given the opportunity to connect with our pride and share stories about our accomplishments.
The afternoon offered a variety of workshops. Sally led a presentation and discussion on learning how to resist the untruths about ageism. Carole showed us the benefits of a relaxing massage. Barb Ester and and Beth York discussed the power of women’s music, including a journey into music of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Chris Roerden, author of Don’t Murder Your Mystery, explained the mystery of writing and publishing our stories.
After a late afternoon of unwinding in the pool and chatting with friends, we danced and partied to the music of DJ Tammy Rast, and singer Carol Brooks treated us to a performance of a song she had written and dedicated to Harriet Hancock.
The final day of the Gathering began with a large and varied brunch followed by a panel discussion on the importance of activism led by Mandy Carter. Panel members Chris Roerden, Sally Tatnall, Judy Benson, and Lavender talked about the impact activism has made on our physical, mental, and emotional health.
The final activity of our weekend was a bus tour of Columbia, which included a visit to historical sites, theaters, and the L Word, Columbia’s Lesbian bar.
Thanks to our Steering Committee for an excellent regional conference.