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LGBT Elders are being BOLD!

Brewery brings inclusive environment for aging seniors

The Charlotte LGBT Elders Group is partnering with the new Charlotte brewery called Bold Missy to prove that breweries are for more than millennials.

Bold Missy is tucked away in East Charlotte just beyond the center of NoDa. This unassuming brewery is unlike other breweries in Charlotte because there is a message with every beer offered. A message of empowerment, women’s education and light-heartedness. This is what attracted the Charlotte LGBT Elders group to make this the first venue for their social offerings.

I am co-chair of Charlotte LGBT Elders, and I had the opportunity to sit with Bold Missy Brewery owner Carol Waggoner to talk about why this partnership is so important. Waggoner recalled the reason for opening the brewery. She said, “Our goal is to highlight the accomplishments of women in history…Bold Missies! We are all Bold Missies and Misters. My joy is to provide an environment where everyone feels welcome, included and empowered.”

Currently, Bold Missy is featuring the following beers:

Solo Flight Brown Ale in honor of Amelia Earhart

Git Yer Gun Golden Ale in honor of Annie Oakley

Tripel Toe Loop Belgian in honor of Michelle Kwan

Rocket Ride American IPA in honor of Sally Ride

Waggoner shared that having the Charlotte LGBT Elders at her brewery means that she is fulfilling on her promise that everyone is welcome.

For me, this is more than a social outing for the group. This event is significant for two reasons. First, by encouraging people ages 55 and older to come together in a social setting, it is fighting social isolation.

According to a recent publication by SAGE, social isolation affects many LGBTQ older individuals around the country as they deal with stigma and discrimination in their daily lives and in our country’s aging system.

The primary risk factors for social isolation affect LGBTQ older adults in unique and disproportionate ways. LGBTQ elders are more likely to live alone and with thinner support networks. Additionally, the research shows that LGBTQ elders face higher disability rates, struggle with economic insecurity and higher poverty rates, and many deal with mental health concerns that come from having survived a lifetime of discrimination.

Location-related barriers, coupled with stigma and discrimination, can make it difficult for LGBTQ older individuals in many parts of the country to find the LGBTQ-friendly community support they need to age successfully and avoid social isolation. As adults near retirement age, they may become isolated over time from their broader communities (places of worship, work settings, etc.), as well as from friends and family. This phenomenon means, among other consequences, smaller and lower quality support networks, debilitating feelings of loneliness and depression, and at its worst, a life of estrangement where one’s physical and mental health deteriorates.

Secondly, we can proudly show that breweries are not just for millennials! Both Waggoner and I laughed about this. Bringing generations together over beer and good food means that everyone involved has the opportunity for building new friendships, as well as, fun.

Charlotte LGBT Elders and Bold Missy Brewery invite you to join them on April 26 from 5-8 p.m. Drop in, bring a friend and make a new one.

If you are or you know of an LGBTQ elder that is suffering from social isolation and needs help, they have a place to call for peer counseling, information and local resources. The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline is live and ready to take calls at 1-888-234-SAGE. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m.-midnight and on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. All times are Eastern. Prefer to use email? Reach out at SAGE@GLBThotline.org.