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“Throughout history, elders have served as beloved pathfinders, beckoning us to enter the province of old age in anticipation of growing strength and usefulness to society.”

— Roshi Joan Halifax

BECOMING A QUEER ELDER

ELDERING & INTERGENERATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS

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All Gay and Queer Elders:  TELL US YOUR STORY!

THIS IS A GLOBAL CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

You are invited to be part of a new book titled Becoming A Queer Elder: Eldering and Intergenerational Consciousness

 

In it, we will highlight Gay and Queer men who minister in some way to younger members of the community.  The compilers are Don Kilhefner, Ph.D., and Christopher Phillips, two men with many decades of service to the Gay community. The third collaborator is Justin Oberts, a future queer elder.

 

YOUR EXPERIENCE AND YOUR WISDOM ARE NEEDED!  THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SHARE THEM!

  • Have you mentored or "eldered" members of the Gay or Queer younger generation?

  • Have young Gay or Queer men ever turned to you as a father, grandfather, uncle or big-brother figure?

  • Do you have meaningful intergenerational Gay or Queer friendships or other relationships? 

  • What do you feel you have to offer younger people?  What do they have to offer you?

  • What do you wish you could tell YOUR younger self?

  • Who inspired YOU as a young man?  What did you need from a Gay or Queer elder when you were young? 

These are just some of the questions you might want to think about. 

 

Submissions can be in many forms (and you will receive expert editorial help if you need it).   

 

You can send us

  • A personal story (real or fictional), essay or reminiscence

  • A relevant poem

  • A photograph or other art work

  • A digitally recorded statement, if writing is hard for you.  (If necessary, an interview can be arranged so you can tell your story that way.)

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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A 'QUEER ELDER'?

For the purposes of this anthology, an elder is loosely defined as a Queer or Gay man, in the third act of life, who is tending in some way to the well-being of younger men and women and the welfare of a community.  He uses his life experience, learned knowledge and insightful wisdom in service of something larger than himself.  This service can take many forms, including one-to-one mentoring, friendships, or other relationships.  The great Swiss psychoanalyst and visionary Carl Jung referred to elders as “spiritual mother and fathers.”

 

The term “elder” is differentiated from “older.”  An “older” is a person who celebrates a birthday every year, sees no larger role for himself in the community, watches a lot of TV and waits for death.  An “elder” takes an active role in contributing to younger generations and sees a role for himself in the community.  (Of course, both olders and elders are worthy of being treated with respect and courtesy.) 

 

  • The primary purpose of the book is to share stories about eldering work being done in the Gay/Queer communities by community elders and how this effort facilitates intergenerational communication and enrichment.

  • Submissions are also solicited from openly Gay/Queer men doing eldering work in any non-Gay, non-Queer communities.

  • Are you a Queer Elder-In-Waiting?  Let’s hear about your concerns and what you might be needing.

  • Young Queer men:  What have your experiences been with Queer elders?  How did you locate the elder and what was the eldering like?

  • There is a profound force for goodness and forward momentum unleashed across generations — youth, adults, elders, ancestors — when functioning elders in a community unleash their wisdom, experience and care.  Our current climate of “age apartheid” has the opposite effect, wasting these opportunities and stifling individual growth and community growth. 

  • Our hope is that your accounts will inspire others (and will encourage you) into claiming the role of Queer elder and that your eldering experiences will serve as a catalyst and experiential roadmap to what is possible now and beyond.