Bay Area OLOC

Memorial Day Weekend 2 Night Retreat

May 19–21
Finally We Return to this Fab Setting!

Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa County

The deadline for receiving applications to attend the upcoming retreat is May 5th.
The facility must know how many of us are attending so that they can plan meals.

We have reserved space at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa County for a two-night retreat over the Memorial Day weekend, May 19 – 21.  The facilities are fully accessible.  It will be available to all who wish to attend.  Check it out at:
For more detailed information download the Bay Area April Bulletin or email Pat

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

Film Festival June 9 – 11, 2023

Bay Area OLOC will again volunteer as a community partner with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project film festival June 9 – 11, 2023.  QWOCMAP will likely offer screenings in person and on-line as they did in 2022.


Our picnic on July 31st was in person at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. Everyone who attended had a great time.  Hope to see you at the July 23, 2023 picnic, noon–4:00 p.m. at the same location!

Click on image to view full size and activate the slide show. Press ESC on your keyboard to return to the Bay Area web page.

Photos: Laura Tow

If you are missing contact with other Old Lesbians, check out the Bay Area OLOC Zoom drop-in groups.

The Tuesday Zoom group was closed because there was danger of the group having so many participants that it would become unwieldy and not allow much time for women to share. However, another Zoom group has started in order to accommodate all of our members. This Zoom group will be meeting on Wednesdays from 3:00–4:30 and the contact is Susan Chacin at

Bay Area OLOC is a community partner for the free film festival sponsored by the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP). The festival will be in-person this year at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 10, 11, and 12, 2022.  QWOCMAP‘s director, Madeleine Lim is premiering her new documentary on OLOC luminary Jewelle Gomez on Saturday.

Bay Area OLOC Mourns Joan Emerson

A memorial for Joan Emerson, Bay Area OLOC leader and national OLOC awardee will be held:

Tuesday, March 7th from 2:00 – 4:00 pm
The Redwoods Auditorium
40 Camino Alto – Mill Valley 94941

Visitor parking is extremely limited, please contact friends to arrange carpools.
Jan Couvillon, Joan’s spouse asks people to bring photos and other memorabilia.

Joan Emerson, 1935, died of natural causes on January 9th. She is survived by her partner of 12 years, Jan Couvillon whom she married on June 2, 2017, and by two brothers, Bob Emerson of Los Angeles and Lee Emerson of Vermont.

Joan was a decisive factor in Bay Area OLOC becoming the large, active chapter it is.  In 1996, at age 61, she attended the OLOC National Gathering in Minneapolis. Arriving only “to explore the Lesbian world,” within 24 hours she had enthusiastically joined the Old Lesbian community. Impressed by the self-acceptance OLOC women had in being women, old, and Lesbian, she offered to revitalize the San Francisco chapter. With the help of Old Lesbians who had participated in OLOC’s founding, Joan was at the center of organizing day-long meetings, raising funds, and holding twice yearly overnight retreats from 1996 to 2013.


Born in Washington, DC, in 1935, where her father was a lawyer for the New Deal, she graduated from Reed College and earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She was drawn to the innovative micro sociology being developed by Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel, examining humor in doctor-patient interactions. She taught sociology at Carleton College and the State University of New York, Buffalo. Her brother Bob says Joan’s biggest regret was watching the women’s movement and the civil rights movement from the sidelines. She left the field of sociology and at age 55 began training to work as a psychotherapist with children.

Joan lived in San Francisco or 34 years, partnered for some time with Dottie Fowler, also active in OLOC, and vacationing together with Lesbian friends at Discovery Bay Washington. Joan moved to The Redwoods, a senior housing complex in Marin County, after Dottie’s death. Always sensitive to other’s needs, Joan organized and carried out an orientation program for new residents at the Redwoods and taught collage classes there. She loved swimming, good food, creative writing, and collage.

Joan received OLOC’s Martin-Lyon Old Lesbian Pride Award in 2014 at the national Gathering in Oakland. Stepping back from her duties on Bay Area’s steering committee after 17 arduous years, she continued to participate as frequently as she could with Jan’s help.

Bay Area OLOC provides Old Lesbians with the opportunity to meet like-minded women in our common goal to challenge ageism, to share mutual interests, and to experience the joy and warmth of playing and working together.

BAOLOC chapter has kept busy over the past year with Zoom workshops on Racism and a Zoom salon of our members’ writings, art and music. The most popular Zoom interactions have been with our Tuesday weekly Zoom meetings. There are usually 16-20 participants in these meetings from all over the Bay Area, including the coast and those who live many miles north of the San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley center of activities. Our chapter has been doing this for almost the entire pandemic and have all gotten to know one another much better. Most would like to continue this meeting when the pandemic ends!

We promote the visibility and pride of Old Lesbians. We celebrate our strengths, our talents, and our diverse life experiences.

We raise our voices against injustice of all kinds: racism, ageism, and homophobia.

We are a proud and active presence in social justice activities. Many of us are life-long activists and we appreciate working with other groups on today’s issues.

We call ourselves OLD with pride because we will no longer accommodate ourselves to language that implies in any way that “old” means inferior.

Bay Area OLOC organizes six events each year in addition to one-time-only activities as energy permits.

  • RETREATS: 2 nights at a camp in the Napa woods in May and September.
  • Three all-day GATHERINGS held in various locations in the Bay Area.
  • A PICNIC held in an accessible park.

All of our events accommodate the hearing impaired and differently abled. Fees are based on each woman’s ability to pay.

We publish a newsletter six times a year preceding our scheduled events. We maintain this web page at