I’m Honored, Shocked, and Apparently Old

John Vochatzer, Juanita & Jackson (Madonna & Son), 2020

2020 has sucked.

We have completely missed out on living our joyful lives during this time of Covid-19. My friends and family have tried to dedicate themselves to living fully in the moment, approaching people and the world by interacting in kind, considerate, safe, and respectful ways.

As this year comes to an end, we are confronted with the fact that we’re still on a Covid-19 timeline. It will keep pounding out that same steady beat throughout winter, whether we like it or not. Please continue to wear a mask!

And then, as though this year hasn’t been tough enough: this subject line popped up in my inbox “Juanita, we would like to honor you with the ‘Elder Award.” (It’s amazing how just last week, I was honored with the Academy’s Legend Archive award — and now I’ve somehow descended into crippling old age.)

I could have died right there… while Jackson slept at my heels in front of my computer. I felt a massive rush of emotions — shock and disbelief, as though the golden years of my youth were being thrown off a cliff and vanishing into thin air.

Did I just get called out as “old”? Rude.

The email was signed “with much love and great respect by the Pomegranate Arts, Curran, and Taylor Mac.” Taylor has toured with his fabulous show “Holiday Sauce,” celebrating the holiday season in all its glorious dysfunction. Each year, he honors multiple local elders by recognizing and acknowledging the monumental impacts they have made on their communities throughout their lives and careers.

While I sipped on my third cup of coffee and applied some eyelift cream, I realized that I had done some pretty amazing things. Regardless of my shock, I’m truly honored to be thanked for the work I’ve done over the years.

So, please join me on Saturday, December 12, at 7 PM, as I will be receiving my honor with twenty other heroes who have made huge impacts in their communities. Taylor Mac’s HOLIDAY SAUCE … PANDEMIC! will be benefiting Open House, which enables San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ+ seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing housing, direct services, and community programs.

Me & my new t-shirt RESPECT QUEER ELDERS.

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