Look for the Silver Rainbow in Sarasota on June 8

The Giving Coast

Pictured: On June 8, Project Pride SRQ and partners will present Silver Pride Sarasota, a free event celebrating LGBTQ+ ages 50 and better. Photos provided by Project Pride.

Local organization Project Pride SRQ--in collaboration with Senior Friendship Centers and Golden Girls Solutions--will present Silver Pride Sarasota, celebrating LGBTQ+ ages 50 and better on Saturday, June 8. This free event will take place from 12-5 p.m. at Senior Friendship Centers (1888 Brother Geenen Way, Sarasota). The afternoon will feature a performance by Azara Ballet, a DJ and dancing, drag performances, games and raffles, food trucks, tabling by local businesses and organizations, and appearances by various community leadersincluding Sarasota County School Board member Tom Edwards–who will address the importance of knowing and understanding LGBTQ history. Additionally, in alignment with its commitment to celebrating the rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ relationships, Project Pride will present special legacy couples’ gifts for those who have been together for five years or more and register with the organization in advance of the event.

“As the older adult population in the United States grows, with the aging of the Baby Boomers, it’s important to understand the unique challenges faced by older LGBTQ adults, including economic and health disparities as well as social isolation resulting from the stigmatization of being LGBTQ in previous generations,” said Project Pride President Jason Champion. “It is such a thrill for us to see hundreds of community members who are so happy to be able to be who they are–openly–during the festivities and feel the joy of being part of an inclusive, warm and welcoming crowd.”

Champion was honored in March at the Senior Friendship Centers annual fundraiser at Selby Gardens. In his speech, he said “Love is the universal language and it transcends race, creed, color, denomination, orientation and age because if we believe in love, we can believe in a better society. Like the spectrum of a rainbow that showcases many colors, our community encompasses a spectrum of age and backgrounds and when we are able to accept that diversity and build bridges, we can open hearts and open minds, one heart, one mind at a time. Together, and only together, will we be able to work toward a better society of creating something that’s compassionate, understanding, and loving. And when we do that, diversity is celebrated, love has no boundaries, and our aging community is honored and respected.”

Erin McLeod, President and CEO of Senior Friendship Centers noted that the partnership between the organizations came about when her team recognized a whole demographic of older adults that they felt the need to be more proactive about. “We needed to learn all we could so that the seniors that we were serving would feel welcome and safe and they could be fully engaged in life,” she said. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Project Pride to celebrate our LGBTQ+ older adults. Silver Pride is a wonderful opportunity to honor their resilience, acknowledge their contributions, and ensure they feel seen and valued and never need to ‘go it alone. We want all seniors to know that no matter who they are, the color of their skin, how much money they have or what their lifestyle choices are, we see them and recognize that they have an uphill climb.”

The week prior to Silver Pride, to kick off Pride Month in “grand” style, Project Pride will present its annual fundraiser–the Grand Carnival In Bloom–at the Sailor Circus Arena (2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota) on June 1. Silver Pride is free and open to the community. Valet and individual parking will be available on-site.

For more about Project Pride SRQ and its Pride Month events, visit ppsrq.org.

Pictured: On June 8, Project Pride SRQ and partners will present Silver Pride Sarasota, a free event celebrating LGBTQ+ ages 50 and better. Photos provided by Project Pride.

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