January 18, 2021
link to facebook link to twitter

Unique classes for LGBT seniors

By: Irene Hilsendager
January 8, 2021

The challenge for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors has been especially hard with the impact of COVID-19. With a lifeline of discrimination, many LGBT are hesitant to search for assistance or backing; therefore, many lack connections with family and then even become more isolated.

Santa Rosa Junior College offers many free courses for the older or geriatric pragmas which focus on the LGBT seniors. The classes are offered in a discussion group formatted and often connected with each other in order to share their overall chronicles in a safe and supportive environment. Because of  COVID-19 many of the older adult classes will be offered online via Zoom and exploring research into both LGBT and general aging studies.  This allows those who have not been able to oversee or attend in the past.

“Aging gayfully,” provides a safe place for students sharing their life stories will meet Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those of you who have taken previous classes will meet Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and both classes will start the week of January 18.

Instructor Gary “Buz” Hermes, MA, a LGBT aging consultant will bring over thirty years of experience serving the LGBT community and exploring research into both LGBT and general aging studies. For more information, email

During the spring semester, the LGBT will cover the early 1980s into the 1990s.

Instructor Tina Dungan is the founding member of the Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County and co-creator of the Sonoma County LGBTQI Timeline.

The online classes will meet Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. beginning January 20. For more information email

Santa Rosa Junior College’s Older Adults Program also offers free online classes on creative arts for older adults. This course is designed to enrich the quality of life of older adults through art. A variety of media such as painting, drawing, crafts and collage encourage creativity and self-expression. Some classes focus on watercolor, drawing and sketching with watercolor pencils, charcoal pencil drawing, collages and painting with pastels. These are also VA approved. Other classes will focus of art journaling, exploring of Mandala making, acrylic painting and paper arts and card making.

Discussion groups will focus on beginning Spanish, American history, living healthy through mindfulness, using DNA in genealogy and American migration. Other groups will focus on world travel, brain nutrition, theatre improvisation, powers of dreamtime, European migration and how to focus on home décor, declutter and organize.

Fitness for the older adults is designed to enrich the quality of life of older adults through exercise. Course activities promote or maintain physical, mental, social and emotional well-being and accommodate varying skill levels. A variety of activities will include gentle movement fitness, Tai Chi, low impact aerobics, strength and well-being and dance and Zumba gold.

Musical experience is designed to enrich the quality of life of older adults through music. This course activities promote or maintain physical, mental, social and emotional well-being and accommodate varied skill levels. A variety of stimulating and uplifting activities are incorporated, including movement to music, remembering old favorites, group sing-along and exposure to new music. Check with your instructor as some of these courses are non-credit courses.


Santa Rosa Junior College Nondiscrimination Policy:

The Sonoma County Junior College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, ethnic group identification, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or sexual orientation in any of its policies, procedures or practices; nor does the District discriminate against any employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their age. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in District programs and activities -- including but not limited to academic admissions, financial aid, educational services, and athletics -- and application for District employment.


 El  Sonoma County Junior College District no discrimina por motivos de raza, religión, credo, color, origen nacional, ascendencia, grupo étnico, discapacidad física, discapacidad mental, estado de salud, condición genética, estado civil, sexo, género, identidad de género, expresión de género, la información genética o la orientación sexual en cualquiera de sus políticas, procedimientos o prácticas; ni discrimina el Distrito contra cualquier empleado o solicitantes de empleo sobre la base de su edad. Esta política de no discriminación cubre la admisión, el acceso y el tratamiento en los programas y actividades del distrito - incluyendo pero no limitado a las admisiones académicas, ayuda financiera, servicios educativos y atletismo - y solicitud de empleo del Distrito. El Sonoma County Junior College District es un empleador que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.