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The month of May is a time, designated by President Kennedy, to recognize our elders. And according to sources I qualify as an elder. And honestly, I do not like that. When I was growing up, we were told to respect our elders. To me that meant old people. What defined old people was not clear to me as a kid, but you know, old. As my life has progressed that word has carried significant fear for me. If I am an elder, I am old. And that is so far from the truth of who I am and how I identify.

At the age of 50 AARP caught up with me soliciting me to join the group. Me? Join AARP? How dare they. I ask- who decides on these labels and it seems everyone has a definition of their own to meet their audience. Some groups have chosen to use the term ‘active aging’. Well, that is true since I am aging everyday but isn’t everyone? Society puts so many labels on us all and sometimes some of us fall prey to those labels. I went from being a baby to a kid. From being a kid to a teenager. From teenager to young adult. Then young adult to middle age. Middle age to older adult. And now apparently my label is elder. I appreciate President Kennedy choosing a time to recognize the contributions of elders. In the LGBTQ+ community we often put the elders out to pasture. Our community is so focused on the young LGBTQ+ individuals that we forget who got us to where we are with rights, discrimination, stigma and more.

But let me tell you something. Older, elder, active-aging adults have a great deal to offer society and the LGBTQ+ community. Insight, perspective, knowledge, leadership to name a few. It is time we engage and cross generations so that we are all ONE community. It is time to step up, recognize and help our peers. I still do not like the word elder. It means my next label is dead. And just so you know I am not dead. I get to choose what labels are attached to me. I choose human being. Cheers!

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Mental Health Providers

Eric Davis  MS, LCPA, NCC, Counselor

Willow Wellness and Recovery, PC 9 All Souls Crescent  Suite B, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 490-4137 | Website I am a firm believer in empowerment and self-determination. In the past, I have worked well with folks experiencing a range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance-use, sleep disturbances, relationship issues, and issues unique to the LGBT community.

Scott Thomas,  Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, LCAS

Silver Lining Therapy 70 Woodfin Place  STE 21, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 705-3084 | Website I believe humor can be a powerful tool for healing and seek to incorporate this into our time together. Unique to my practice is an approach that truly puts you at the center of the counseling experience, and I draw from a wide variety of techniques to help you see and experience real change in your life. To see if therapy might be a good fit, I offer free phone consultations.

James Harrison, PhD Psychologist

12 Westridge Dr , Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 348-6300 | Website I enjoy helping people achieve physical and emotional intimacy whether they are young or old, straight or gay, in healthy, responsible, and mutually affirming ways. I also enjoy helping people improve their earning and manage their assets. And I like working with older people. I offer free phone consultations.

Judy Maris, Counselor, LPC, LCPC, MA, MS

Maris Psychotherapy 41 Clayton St, Suite 301, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 537-4489 | Website We can explore troublesome patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life or look at new issues that have just come up. The important thing is for us to work together to get to the bottom of your difficulties and resolve them. I will assist you in becoming more aware of what you are feeling and thinking in the present moment. The untapped wisdom within you is a powerful healing force. Let me help you gain access to your full inner resources. I offer free phone consultations.

Elizabeth Heaney, Counselor, MA, LPC 

166 E Chestnut Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (520) 447-3319 | Website I work with individual adults with concerns like: family history issues, relationship concerns, life satisfaction issues (related to jobs, living situations or relationships), anxiety and depression. I’ve had a particular focus on working with couples, addressing every aspect of relationship challenges – relationship dissatisfaction/boredom, affairs, sexual/intimacy issues, etc. And I was a civilian counselor on military bases for several years, so I have a clear understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing service members and families. I offer free phone consultations.

Siljoy Maurer

Holistic Perspectives P.O. Box 333, Enka, NC 2872  Phone: (828) 333-0103  | siljoy@me.com or  www.HolisticPerspectives.com For many years now I have been mentoring men and women from all walks of life. It continues to be my greatest joy to accompany someone from “just being ok” into thriving! As a Mentor & Healer I partner with my clients in creating authenticity, wellness and deep contentment, in whatever area of their lives they are seeking change. The combination of giving very practical, livable tools for direct “next steps” while “holding the big picture” and then manifesting that big picture often feels like this: a new client brings me their life or life situation in a jigsaw puzzle box, they lost the lid and forgot what the picture on it looked like. I am good at knowing that picture and then guiding my clients/mentees to put all the puzzle pieces together.