Stonewall LLI Fall Semester Begins

September 25, 2007

On September 25, 2007, Stonewall Communities, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to build community among older LGBT people, launches the second semester of the nation’s first lifelong learning institute designed for and by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults ages 50 and over, at Wheelock College.

For the Fall, 2007 semester, Stonewall Communities Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) at Wheelock College will offer a fascinating lineup of 10-week and 5-week courses, as well as a series of 10 "Brown Bag Lunch Speakers", and a special panel discussion in November focusing on the history of the Gay/Straight Alliance Movement.

All Stonewall Communities LLI regular courses and "lunch and learn" programs are held during the day on Tuesdays from September 25 through December 4 at Wheelock College's Brookline campus, 43 Hawes Street, Brookline. Registration fees are modest, ranging from $25 for the entire Brown Bag Speaker Series to $115 for unlimited course enrollment. However, no one is turned away for lack of funds, and LLI volunteers attend courses free of charge. Stonewall Communities LLI is open to anyone, regardless of age, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. For information, call 617-369-9090 or visit for a complete course catalogue, registration information and map.

Lifelong learning is a rapidly growing social and personal growth movement for people over 50. Sometimes called “senior colleges” or “learning communities”, there are no grades, tests or requirements other than a passion for learning. More than 400 LLIs now operate in the United States, with several in the greater Boston area, yet this is the first designed specifically by and for the LGBT community.

The Stonewall Communities LLI launched its first semester in Spring, 2007 and its programs and offerings were widely hailed as an innovative and appealing way to combine learning with sharing a sense of community. Stonewall Communities LLI is a member and volunteer-driven organization. Member interests shape its programs, and peer volunteers lead the courses and study groups. Anyone may propose to offer a course or a program for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

Courses for the Fall 2007 semester include: "ElderQuest: Transformation in Modern Film and Novels", a 10-week journey to discover what elder heroes can tell us about growing older. Stonewall Communities LLI Project Director, Michael Connolly will lead "ElderQuest". Several 5-week "Mini-Courses" will be offered including three in the first half of the semester: "Writing Your Family’s History and Your Own Journal" with course leader James Buckley; "Harvesting Your Experience: Writing Creative Non-fiction", with course leader Alice Fisher; and "Gay People and The Media", with course leader and well-known journalist Chuck Colbert.

The 10 Brown Bag Lunch Speakers include a wide and appealing variety of presenters and topics. The first half of the semester will include: Pat Gozemba on her book "Courting Equality" (Sept. 25); "General Stroessner’s Paraguay: Memories of a Peace Corps Volunteer" with Al Whitaker (Oct. 2); "Giving Voice to Progressive and Marginalized Women", presented by Gilda Bruckman, co-director, Center for New Words (Oct 9); "Politics: a View from the Other Side of the River", with Mayor Ken Reeves of Cambridge, Massachusetts (Oct. 16); and " Welcoming and Affirming Churches" presented by Reverend Martin McLee, Union United Methodist.

Switching to Monday evening for just one week during the semester (Thanksgiving week, when no LLI classes will be held on Tuesday), on Monday, November 19, Stonewall Communities LLI will hold a panel discussion: Present at the Creation: Personal Reflections on the Birth of the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) Movement.

Many people do not realize that the Gay/Straight Alliance movement began here in Massachusetts in the late 1980s at local schools such as Brookline High School, Concord Academy, and Newton South. The GSA movement has since grown to encompass 300 schools in Massachusetts and over 3,000 nationwide.

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