Ageism and Lesbophobia

Panel on Ageism and Lesbophobia: Look Us in the Eye Introduction by Sharon Raphael, Ph.D., 1941
Presented August 19, 2006 in Durham, North Carolina at The Sheraton Imperial Hotel
For Old Lesbians Organizing For Change Conference “Leave No Old Lesbian Behind”


OLOC is a Lesbian organization that affirms aging and helps us identify in a positive way with the term OLD, which is a powerful idea, a very feminist idea, and an idea that is very unpopular out there in the outer world. I guess we could call it the so-called “real world,” but that is relative.

OLOC needs to affirm the term LESBIAN in the same way as we affirm and take on the word OLD. Just as it was true that it was Lesbians who gave the much-needed woman power to many aspects of the feminist movement, it is OLD Lesbians who are intellectually in the vanguard of not only truly understanding what ageism does to old women but are acting as role models for what to do to avoid the pitfalls of ageism. But the problem is that old women are not listening to us to any large degree in part because of their own lesbophobia, which we must fight not only for our own self interest but also in order to be heard. 

OLD Lesbians Organizing for Change has a unique opportunity to share what we have learned with the wider world, but the first step must be to educate and change ourselves. That first step should be an acknowledgement that we are fighting two isms, ageism and lesbophobia, on one front. Stepping up to the challenge means not allowing ourselves to fall into the invisibility or ageism trap within our own community, continuing to fight sexism, and seeing the connections between feminism and the fight against ageism. Once we have integrated all these ideas on a personal level, we can then reach out to the wider world and make a big noise collectively and as individuals.

Scroll to Top
For website help
click HERE