Older Sarasota LGBTQ+ adults discuss overlooked problems within community

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SARASOTA- June might be Pride Month, but members of Sarasota’s LGBTQ+ community celebrate who they are every month.

“It’s a wonderful, vibrant community,” said Robert Rogers, Community Outreach Coordinator of Friendship Centers.

Rogers said problems older members of the LGBTQ+ community face are often overlooked.

“There were no resources that I could find where it was just a broad, community–wide, discussion opportunity for people,” he said.

6 months ago, Rogers created monthly discussion meetings, organized to tackle a new topics each month.

He said, “I was initially expecting about 12 people, about 50 people showed up.”

Older adults in Sarasota’s LGBTQ+ community came together Wednesday night at The Friendship Center to discuss healthcare.

Mike Mazur, a Sarasota resident facilitated this month’s meeting, he said, “We find that we are not always welcome in facilities and those of us that have long–term partners, often felt uncomfortable or even turned away.”

Many call it an act of discrimination, but Mazur called it lack of regulation.

“In 29 states, including the state of Florida, it is not protected on sexual orientation, so these things can occur,” he said.

Attendees passed the mic around, pitching ideas to bring forward to local facilities, “Better train (employees), adopt policies, etc. to eliminate or minimize those types of things,” Mazur said.

Rogers said Friendship Centers in Venice and North Port might soon host similar monthly discussion meetings.

Mazur said, “We’re not looking for any special treatment. We’re just looking for simple human treatment because we have more alike than we have differences in this world.”

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