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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Jennifer Kveglis
Jennifer joined SNN in July of 2017. Born and raised in Mount Olive, New Jersey, she found her love for media as a lead anchor for her high school’s morning television program. She graduated from Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana and extended her studies at the University of Tampa where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Arts. In college she interned for FOX 13 and City of Tampa Television. Her future plans are to utilize her film-making skills to provide a unique rendition of storytelling. Her love for the sunshine, beach and local area made it an easy decision to stay in SWFL after graduation. In her free time, Jennifer can be found at the gym or exploring vegan restaurants. She loves to travel and expose herself to new environments. She is excited to embrace a brand new city while making introductions with the local community. She owes her successes to her supportive family, friends, and mentors.