Pave the Way
This campaign pays tribute to older members of the LGBTQ+ community and the meaningful connections they’ve built through decades of their lives. It’s through these friendships that they’ve celebrated individuality and discovered the importance of supporting each other. Growing up during a different time, they have paved the way for younger generations.
Having navigated through harmful social conditions that have impacted the larger LGBTQ+ community, such as discrimination, heteronormativity and cisgenderism, our communities’ seniors are now faced with ageism. And yet, they haven’t slowed down in their fight – challenging misconceptions about age and how they’re expected to be living at this stage in their lives.
With such strong sources of friendship and support, older members of LGBTQ+ communities continue to live authentically, stay creative and constantly find ways to contribute to the community that they love. And not to mention, they do it all while having FUN.
In doing so, they’re still paving the way – inspiring everyone to follow their lead. If you have an older loved one in your life, we encourage you to thank them. Or seek that someone out and learn from their experiences. We can all celebrate the endless joy and wisdom that older people bring to the community.
Scroll down to read true stories about how such strong and healthy relationships have helped six individuals to not only survive but thrive.
We thank the LGBTQ+ artists who were commissioned to create these illustrations. Each artwork is credited below.
This project was funded and made possible by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
If you’d like to learn more ways to embrace ageing and being visibly engaged, check out ACON’s LOVE Project. For more information on healthy relationships visit the Healthy Relationships page, or to get help for unhealthy relationships, visit the Abuse page.
Ricki & Georgie
As trans women, Ricki and Georgie grew up in a time when their gender identities were not widely understood. They both faced discrimination, ignorance and rejection from friends and family. But through a mutual understanding and empathy for each other’s unique experiences, they’ve made a deep commitment to share that same love and support to the wider LGBTQ community. Through their work with the Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) they’ve advocated for accessible and affordable housing for older LGBTQ people. Paving the way for today’s generation, they’re helping shape a new narrative of acceptance and inclusion for all trans people Ricki shares a loving reminder to the younger members of the community – “They are not alone in their journey. There is a vibrant community of support out there, and it is possible to live authentically and proudly as their true selves.”
In Our Words
Rickie: As an older trans woman, meeting Georgie in person was a highlight in my life, connecting with someone who was also older and trans created a mutual understanding of what we had both been through in our earlier years. Georgie provided me with a greater understanding of what it means to be Intersex and Transgender and I was able to highlight for her being disabled and Trans. We both are passionate about accessible and affordable housing for older LGBTIQA SB+ people and have deeper our commitment to this by both being on the LGBTIQA Reference committee for housing at Housing or the Aged Action Group ( HAAG) Growing up during a time when being transgender was not as widely understood or accepted presented unique challenges. we both faced discrimination, ignorance, and even rejection from friends and family. However, we want to help shape a new narrative through our volunteer work to highlight that times have changed, and society has become more inclusive. While there may still be obstacles to overcome, it is heartening to witness the progress made in terms of visibility, rights, and acceptance for transgender individuals. We want younger LGBTQ+ individuals to know that they are not alone in their journey, that there is a vibrant community of support out there, and that it is possible to live authentically and proudly as their true selves. Everyone deserves a right to have affordable and secure housing.
Nathalie & Claire
As proud bi women, Nathalie & Claire, are committed to celebrate and honour each other’s individuality. Having been “soul sisters” for 40 years, they find constant ways to enjoy life together – from food, shopping to music and art. With decades of lived experience within the community, they are big believers in the importance of representation. As Nathalie put it beautifully, “it’s by being seen that you are heard.”
In Our Words
Nathalie: I’ve been friends with Claire since I was 18, we’ve supported each other throughout our lives honouring our individuality as bi women. We are soul sisters, she’s like an aunty to my children. We love spending time together eating, going shopping, to the beach, listening to music and visiting art galleries. Everything is fun with her. Representation is important for all age groups, it’s by being seen that you are heard.
Claire: I’ve been friends with Nathalie for 40 years. We are kindred spirits, during life’s highs and lows, hurts and happiness we are always there for each other, honouring our individuality as bi women. We love each other’s company and can talk for hours. We have a shared passion for shopping, good coffee, food, music and art. In the cookies of life, soul sisters are the chocolate chips 🙂
Anna & Ofra
As queer, non-binary people over 50, Anna and Ofra share lived experience of neurodivergence, trauma and spirituality. Their beautiful friendship has only been strengthened by an abundance of understanding, open communication and acceptance. With the hope of sharing these values, they are both actively contributing to the larger community. As admins on social media, volunteering for community organisations and avid supporters of queer art, they “are always finding new ways to represent and be role models for other older LGBTQ+ people in our community.”
In Our Words
Ofra: As two queer non binary people over 50, sharing neurodivergence, trauma and spirituality, we have brought an abundance of understanding, open communication and acceptance to each other’s lives. Not only that we accept and share our queerness with each other, but we are also both active in the queer community as admin on social media, volunteering for community organization, representing the LGBTQI community on various occasions and lovers of queer art, literature, film, music and fashion. Every LGBTQI person needs to have that one other person that sees them deeply and accepts them for who they are and whatever comes up for them. We keep our mind and heart attuned to our own personal growth and the growth of our relationship, and encourage each other’s daily practice of showing up as our authentic self.
Anna: We are two queer non binary, and neurodivergent people over 50. We are both out with our queerness with each other, our family, friends and our community. We are also both active in the queer community as admin on social media, volunteering for community organization, representing the LGBTQI community. We are always finding new ways to represent and be the face and role models for other older LGBTQ+ in our community.