By Debra Heater
October 24, 2022
Note for readers: LGBTQIA2+ is an umbrella acronym that covers the broad spectrum of the community (or Qmmunity) that includes Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and many other affirming ways people self-identify.
The year was 2009. A historic year. Maybe you remember it as the year Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American President of the United States or the year Michael Jackson passed away. But you may not know about another significant event that happened: In 2009, President Obama declared October LGBT National History month. Now, October stands as a month-long observance of the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.
Why October? According to a GLAAD blog: “LGBT History Month began in 1994, when Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month.”
Please join Family Eldercare in recognizing the achievements and contributions of our own Qmmunity over the years. They have led to the creation of our newest program – Rainbow Connections ATX (RCATX). It all started in 2010 when then director of in-home care and caregiver services for Family Eldercare, Kathleen Coggin, launched Austin Gay and Lesbian Senior Services (AGLSS). Between 2011 and 2020, this Family Eldercare service provided open and accepting social services, training, a resource guide, and advocacy to meet the unique needs of the LGBTQIA2+ older adult community and their caregivers.
Next, Family Eldercare partnered with the Austin LGBTQIA2+ Elder Task Force (ETF), a nonprofit established in 2017. ETF was guided by the vision of bringing services and advocacy resources to LGBTQIA2+ older adults in the Austin area. Cofounders, World Famous *BOB* and Richard Bondi, brought the Qmmunity together with more than 100 ETF-sponsored events across the Austin-area.
After years of advocacy and partnership, AGLSS merged with ETF to form Rainbow Connections ATX. It was all made possible through funding from St. David’s Foundation and the Moody Foundation.
In May 2022, World Famous *BOB* and Richard officially joined Family Eldercare to help launch RCATX alongside the leadership of Joyce Hefner, RCATX director, and Cheryl Young, RCATX program manager. Their goal is to support the older LGBTQIA2+ Qmmunity, update the Resource Guide, create an LGBTQIA2+ housing guide, and to continue offering intergenerational events for the LGBTQIA2+ community.
The Mission of Rainbow Connections ATX:
- To improve the quality and vitality of life for LGBTQIA2+ older adults by providing connections, support, and advocacy in the greater Austin area.
- RCATX celebrates its official launch on Sunday, Nov. 13. We are so excited to showcase our programs, events, resources, and the amazing staff that is RCATX.
- We are extremely proud of our history and impact on the Central Texas Qmmunity.
To contact us or learn more, visit our website.