About OLOC


In 1989, OLOC, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, An International Community of Lesbian Elders, was conceived as a way to utilize the unique experiences of Lesbians at least 60 years of age, to challenge ageism within our own community, within the larger women’s community and within society at large. OLOC works to enlighten and motivate affiliates and supporters about ageism and its effects on everyone.  

Today, OLOC continues to act as a force for change, with strong participation and new chapters forming all across the country.


This photo is of the second OLOC meeting (March 1990) held in Santa Barbara, California at Betty Shoemaker and Sylvia Dobson’s house. The organization was called Old Lesbians Organizing Committee. It was taken by Cristina Vegas, OLOC’s long-time videographer and photographer.

Standing left to right: Vera Martin (1923-2012), Betty Shoemaker (1918-2002), Gertrude Chasens (1917-2016), Ann Ramsey (1926-199?), Shaba Barnes (b. 1935; supporter, not founder), Shevy Healey (1922-2001)
Crouching left to right: Elaine Mikels (1921-2004), Rosemary Hathaway (1929-2015), Sitting down: Barbara Kalish (1929-2018)

About OLOC

Who’s Steering the Ship: How OLOC functions

OLOC is led by a team of four overall committees that collectively make the important decisions that affect all affiliates and supporters.

  1. The Steering Committee, usually made up of five to nine affiliates, develops the Strategic Plan, establishes policy, and approves all matters affecting the organization.
  2. The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee vets all documents and policies to ensure language and intention follow all established protocols and procedures and sends their recommendations to the Steering Committee.  
  3. The Communications & Marketing Committee (C&M) oversees all publications and marketing efforts and refers their approval to the DEI committee.
  4. The Finance and Fundraising Committee (FF) attends to the financial health of OLOC by monitoring the budget and developing fundraising strategies.


OLOC was formed in 1989 to recognize ageism and how the aged are treated in American culture. Celebrating the “OLD” is a part of our mission. Over the past decades, affiliates have become aware of how ageism is a product of white culture in America. While it is important to fight ageism as it impacts our health and mobility, for instance, it is also important to honor the recognition of Elders in the many other cultures that make up our world.

To honor that we updated our logo




If a person wishes to have access to OLOC’s affiliates through our website for the purpose of doing research, the prospective researcher needs to meet the criteria and take the steps set out below. In most cases, only Lesbian identified researchers will be granted permission to conduct such research, with the possible exceptions that the study is a large scale survey (500 or more subjects/participants), and/or is intended to gather significant information about a topic relevant to helping improve the lives of Old Lesbians.


Researchers must include midlife Lesbians and other age Lesbians when appropriate to understanding the issues at hand and to gain their input into the ideas that have motivated the researcher to undertake the project.

Please contact the OLOC Research Gatekeeper (Sharon Raphael, Ph.D. at or at 562-420-3555) for permission to conduct the research. Further address information will be shared upon request.

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