Commentary Strange Fruit

What are some of the barriers that prevent intergenerational bonding and mentorship among LGBTQ people? What are some of the factors that hold us back from sharing knowledge and wisdom between folks of different age groups within the queer community?

This week we explore intergenerational mentorship and queer concepts of chosen family.

Philadelphia Inquirer photo journalist Heather Khalifa introduces us to a black trans woman and her fiancé who act as stand-in parents to LGBTQ youth in their Philadelphia neighborhood.

Andrea Lamour-Harrington has opened her home to struggling LGBTQ young people since the 1980s, and as the “mother” of the House of Lamour she has mentored some eighty-seven “children.”

Later, Writer and former ActUp NY activist James “Jim” Finn notes that there is a popular perception that intergenerational friendships don’t exist among gay men and other queer people.

In his essay “LGBTQ Generations — Mentoring and More,” Finn says that queer folks’ hesitation to mentor youth is rooted in internalized homophobia and deep-seated societal stereotypes that posit older gay men as sexual threats to younger men, and says that his life has been enriched by his friendship with a gay college student more than 30 years his junior.