QLRF: Monday 17th February: The Ageing Queer Populations of London


(7pm, The Boardroom, 309 Regent Street)

Places at the event are free but must be reserved, please email queerlondonresearchforum@gmail.com to book.

This panel discussion will explore the challenges, opportunities and difficulties facing London’s ageing queer populations. How do older queer populations experience London and how do they read it differently? In part, the event will also consider how soap operas offer a frame through which London’s ageing queer populations might understand the city and its issues. Speakers for the event include Kate Hancock (Opening Doors London), Dr. Nicola Humberstone (Age UK Camden) and two speakers – Sonny van Eden and Matt – from FTM London.

Kate Hancock is the Women’s Development Coordinator for Opening Doors London and a member of the older LGBT community in London. She has been working with ODL for two years. For many years she worked in therapeutic communities in mental health charities and charities working with people who had been homeless. For most of her adult life she has been involved in feminist and LGBT movements and politics. She will “talk about Opening Doors London, about how the project came about and developed, what we do and the difference we hope to make within the older LGBT community in London. Whilst we aim to reduce social isolation for older LGBT people and increase awareness of the needs of our community, we also aim to have a good time”.

Dr Nicola Humberstone’s PhD, entitled Older People, Sexuality and Soap Opera, was awarded in 2010 by Middlesex University. She is the Patient Experience Co-ordinator for Community Health Services of Barts Health, and a sessional worker for the Age UK Opening Doors Project. Dr. Humberstone will use “textual analysis of key moments in soap operas, and soap opera talk, and propose that soaps are queer spaces for talk about LGBTQ lives and issues and that EastEnders in particular elicits older people’s memories and experiences of queer London”.

Our speakers from FTM London are Sonny van Eden and Matt. Matt is a 39-year-old FTM from Surrey. He teaches guitar for a living, running a small guitar school on the Surrey/Hants/Berks border. His hobbies include martial arts and he has run his own judo and ju jitsu clubs, having competed in judo many years ago up to National level. He used to enjoy scuba diving and is also a fully qualified horse riding instructor. As a teenager he was a Police Cadet (and HATED having to wear a skirt for it!). Matt has known he was transgendered since he was 3 or 4 years old, but only decided to explore the possibilities in July last summer. He made his final decision to transition in August/September, and medically started this process in October and he is loving nearly every minute of this exciting journey. Matt will “explain his experiences from the point of view of being new to the trans scene and how London has played a part in that. He used to infrequently visit London, but now seems to be in London a fair bit for various trans related things (FTM London, meeting other guys, the Port recording, meeting up with the chair person of the Gender Trust).”

Sonny van Eden’s gender identity is currently fluid, however he primarily identifies as a trans guy and has been using testosterone to try to achieve a desired self-identity. He is attempting to create a comfortable personal reflection through the unity of art, science and well-being. Sonny graduated from Central St. Martins School of Art & Design with an MA in 2003 where he fell in love with art and the freedom of expression and questioning this affords. Currently he volunteers for a mental health charity and had a great opportunity to be the lead researcher on England’s first Transgender Health Needs Assessment in Hertfordshire. Sonny will “talk about transitioning as an older guy and his concerns over health care, and touch on how London and the Trans scene has given him a tribe and the space to become himself.”

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