It only takes one person

Ageing Better float in Birmingham Pride Festival Parade 2017
This is the story of Zed, from the LGBT community in Birmingham, who didn't realise he was isolated until taking part in an Ageing Better in Birmingham campaign called Ageing with Pride. When Zed met Danni, younger in age and with a similar ethos to himself, the two immediately hit it off. The two went on to feature in other parts of the campaign, which helped Zed realise that not only had he been isolating himself from his peers, his assumptions about them were potentially incorrect. He has spoken of his experience as a wake-up call and is now putting more effort into "finding his people" within the older LGBT community.

Zed describes himself as having been socially and culturally isolated. He mentions that his life was in a mundane routine and that having been in a long term relationship, he had also felt isolated from the LGBT+ community. Zed didn't know he was isolated until he took part in Ageing with Pride, a Birmingham campaign which aims to promote the lives and lived experiences of older LGBT people from across the city, focusing on the positive contributions those over the age of 50 and who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have made to the region both today and historically. Zed took part in a campaign that celebrated the over 50s LGBT community before taking part in a BBC Radio 4 show on Coming Out Day.

It was whilst recording the Coming Out Day segment that Zed first met Danni Ebanks-Ingram, a younger member of the Birmingham LGBT community. The two hit it off and it led to Zed feeling comfortable enough to open up on camera about his experiences of being LGBTQ+.

Taking part in Ageing Better and in particular the Ageing with Pride campaign, Zed realised that adhering to the younger generations ethos over his peers, he had made assumptions about his peers that were potentially incorrect. He used to assume that being alternative and older, he wouldn't fit in with the majority of LGBT people over 50. This is what had led him to feeling isolated from his peers. Being part of the campaign allowed him to see that there are many LGBT people over 50 that have similar experiences, and hold similar opinions.

Eventually Zed also got to know Rico, campaign manager for Ageing with Pride. They have since spent 'Queer Christmas' together and Zed now regularly meets up with both Danni and Rico for food and events.

Zed is no longer isolating himself but takes an active role in 'finding his people' within the older LGBT community as he plans to break the habit of isolating himself, and to age with pride by engaging in more events and activities.

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