The Vermont Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Elders Group has its roots in an initial gathering sponsored by The RU12? Queer Community Center in January 2004, to bring together people interested in addressing LGBTQ elder issues.
By September, 2004, with the help of seed money from The University of Vermont’s Social Work Department, the VT LGBTQ Elders Advisory Group (initially named the VT Queer Elders Project) was formed as a collaboration between The RU12? Queer Community Center and The Human Development and Family Studies Program (HDFS) of The University of Vermont (UVM). Initial members of the Steering Committee for the group were LGBTQ elders Robert Wolff and Alverta Perkins, Executive Director of RU12? Christopher Kaufman, and Professor Jacqueline (Jackie) S. Weinstock, then Chair of the Board of Directors for SafeSpace, an LGBTQQ anti-violence organization. Shortly after the Steering Committee formed, Peggy Luhrs (an LGBTQ elder and an AmeriCorps* VISTA with RU12? and Hannah Hauser (SafeSpace Staff member) were appointed to it, and Jackie Weinstock was appointed as a member in her own right—as a UVM professor in the Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) Program whose work includes a focus on LGBTQ elder issues.
The VT LGBTQ Elders Advisory Group was officially launched in the Fall 2005, run for a few months by the Steering Committee as a whole and eventually by Jackie Weinstock, who was appointed that fall as the group’s Director. Jackie served in the Director role until July, 2007, with Co-Directors for some of this time (first, Peggy Luhrs, RU12 AmeriCorps* VISTA, followed by Shawn Lipenski, Health & Wellness Program Director at RU12, and then Fran Moravscik, an LGBTQ elder and volunteer group member).
The Elder Group has continued to grow and change as time passes. We encourage anyone with ideas for other activities to let us know here at the Center. Although there continues to be an RU12? staff member as a point person for the group, the LGBT Elder Group is moving towards a more community member-driven leadership. Please contact RU12? if you have questions 802-860-7812.