For my wife, Mala, and me, this decision and the ensuing uncertainty is literally a matter of life or death. We’re middle-aged, self-employed elder caregivers. We’re not alone. Repealing the ACA puts people like us in a hopeless situation. As caregivers, we can’t take the full-time jobs that provide health care (even supposing they’d hire us so easily). But as self-employed people, we need access to affordable healthcare, or else we are one minor emergency away from.... Read More
I find myself attending LGBTQ Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) events with less and less frequency over time. At one point, queer AAPI community events made up most of my calendar; now, hardly at all. Part of it is that other activities and responsibilities occupy my time, including family responsibilities. Part of it is that my tastes have changed – I am now much happier spending an evening with a few friends at home rather than going out. And speaking of going out: part of it is my lifestyle has changed. I was recently invited to an event that started at 10:00 p.m.! I mean, who does that?! Oh, right, I did, once upon a time.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m being a bit too morbid, spending as much brainpower as I do thinking about end-of-life experiences. I’m not that old yet. People older than me who are smart and thoughtful about their lives are not thinking about post-retirement life yet. Actually, sometimes when I bring this up, friends will look at me like, “Vega. You’re 50. I think you’ll be working for maybe a year or two still.”
It’s not that I don’t know that I’ve got some employment time ahead of me. It’s that when I witness the stories of my elders, what keeps haunting me is premature death. And let’s be honest: every death is premature.
I think about my father-in-law, Raj: a.... Read More
Growing Older Together: Queer People of Color and Aging
As I get older, I find myself having more and more questions about how best to care for my aging parents, how my wife Mala and I can best plan for our retirement and beyond, and how we can best support and remain active in our LGBTQ people of color movements. I also see for the first time a critical mass of queer people of color (QPOC) who have been out for years or even decades, and are now at or near retirement age.
So I’m more excited than ever about the upcoming Creating Change conference in Chicago from January 20-24. We’ll have several opportunities for conversations with other QPOC elders who are grappling with these same questions and.... Read More