WHY WE LOVE OLOC
OLOC promotes Old Lesbian visibility. We exist and we call ourselves Old Lesbians to have our name out in the public sphere. We provide Old Lesbians with the chance to meet like-minded women in our common struggle to confront ageism, share mutual interests, and experience the joy and warmth of playing and working together.
To date, we have produced nine National Gatherings where we:
- Provided financial assistance to dozens of women to enable them to attend
- Provided disability services for attendees.
- Held workshops and plenary sessions on anti-racism and anti-classism, among many other topics
- Presented the Del Martin Old Lesbian Pride Award.
- We produced four Regional Gatherings in years when no National Gatherings occurred
- We promote Old Lesbian visibility by attending conferences of other national and local organizations, presenting workshops on ageism and networking on issues of mutual concern
- We reach out to living facilities, retirement homes, and nursing homes to ensure that Old Lesbians stay visible
- We endorse and promote specific policy changes of importance to Old Lesbians
- We publish a quarterly print newsletter and monthly E-News.
- We operate a website with numerous resources on Lesbians and aging, a list of feminist bookstores, and extensive Internet links.
- We provide members with the opportunity to participate in a Yahoo Group as a discussion and information sharing forum.
- We maintain a Media Library of 100 movies (currently) available for free home use. In addition, the Library has other media such as radio shows, music, and DVDs from pre-OLOC conferences and National Gatherings
- We provide support to the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project
- We honor Old Lesbians who have died in our Memorial Slide show, which we run at National Gatherings
- We sell Old Lesbian t-shirts and other items that promote Old Lesbian visibility with messages such as “This Is What An Old Lesbian Looks Like” in large, prominent print
- Our Research Gatekeeper vets requests for our participation in Lesbian research to ensure it will benefit and include Old Lesbians before recommending participation to our members
- We send birthday cards with positive images of Old Lesbians to members who may not receive many cards from others if they are particularly isolated.
- We offer the strength that comes from having a national identity and connection with sisters in many places
- We provide newsletters, brochures, cards, and other OLOC materials to distribute at events and to individuals and chapters.
- We conduct regular Chapter Coordinators conference calls.
- Chapters are autonomous and choose their own focus. Some work in coalition with groups in their communities, confronting ageism, racism, classism, and other forms of oppression. Other chapters focus on social activities, which develop a sense of community and support. Some choose street activism such as marching in pride parades and participating in events to support #Black Lives Matter, NAACP Journey for Justice, #Black Women’s Lives Matter, and other issues.
- We provide OLOC banners and financial assistance with rent for meeting space
- We allow chapters to join OLOC regardless of their ability to pay dues.
These programs and services are made possible by a primarily volunteer group of Old Lesbians, coordinated by a part-time Administrator. Funding is provided by member and chapter donations and dues, as well as grants and other sources of revenue.
Ruth Debra – Palm Springs, CA
Bonnie Wagner – Woodstock, NY
Alí Marrero-Calderón – Oakland, CA and Bayamon, PR
María Cora – San Lorenzo, CA
Alix Dobkin – Woodstock, NY
Sally Tatnall – Lyndhurst, OH
Why We Call Ourselves Old
Society calls us Old behind our backs while calling us “Older” to our faces. “Old” has become a term of insult and shame. To be “Old” means to be ignored and scorned, to be made invisible and expendable.
We refute the lie that it is shameful to be an “Old” woman. We name ourselves “Old Lesbians” because we will no longer accommodate ourselves to language that implies in any way that “Old” means inferior.
We call ourselves OLD with pride. In doing so, we challenge the stereotypes directly. Thus, we empower and change ourselves, each other, and the world.
Download Why Old.pdf
WHY 60 AND OVER
Membership in OLOC is limited to Old Lesbians, 60 and over, in order to give us the opportunity to be together and to speak for ourselves. We are especially sensitive to the ageist attitudes of those who see themselves as committed to the Old, doing “good” for the Old, speaking-for-us.
The age of 60 was chosen because the degree of oppression is greater beyond mid-life, after 60, when we know what it is to be perceived as “Old.” We welcome those under 60 as supporters who are committed to confronting ageism. Download OLOC statement on Ageism.
Download Why OLOC Has an Age Cutoff of 60.pdf