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Connecting generations of LGBTQ+ individuals through food and storytelling

Generations of Pride is centered around sharing experiences and intergenerational learning

The planning team for Generations of Pride, “The Bellingham Intergenerational Coalition," pictured in Bellingham, Wash. on Jan. 31, 2024. From left to right: Michelle Harmeier, Kaleb Starling, JoeHahn, Kate McLean, Kat, Cathy Angell and Connie. // Photo courtesy of Cathy Angell

Generations of Pride is a monthly dinner that aims to connect generations of LGBTQ+ individuals in Bellingham. Generations of Pride is hosted by LGBTQ+ Western, PFLAG and Bellingham Queer Collective. The event carries the goal of sharing experiences and wisdom across all generations of LGBTQ+ people. 

Held on the last Wednesday of every month at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, Generations of Pride works to foster a space for LGBTQ+ individuals of all ages and walks of life to understand one another.

Cathy Angell, a board member of Bellingham PFLAG and a Generations of Pride attendee shared the impact of events like these. PFLAG is an organization that aims to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals and those who love them.

“What I've experienced so far is that there's this deep desire and need for intergenerational connection. People feel seen when they share their stories, and they feel heard,” Angell said.

Generations of Pride was the result of a research project done by the psychology department of Western Washington University. This research project explored  intergenerational connections between LGBTQ+ people and the positive impacts that these connections can have on the community. 

The research took form in a variety of methods. Among these, researchers listened and evaluated facilitated conversations between LQBTQ+ youth and older LGBTQ+ individuals. They found that there were many shared experiences and stories within the different generations of LGBTQ+ individuals.

The research was presented at a panel in April 2023 and inspired the creation of Generations of Pride by its hosts, LGBTQ+ Western, Bellingham Queer Collective and the Bellingham chapter of PFLAG

According to JoeHahn, the director at LGBTQ+ Western, the main goals of Generations of Pride are “to have the transmission of wisdom across generations, continuity of experiences between people and individuals feeling like they're contributing to a group.” 

The first Generations of Pride dinner was held this past January with around 80 participants. The event is a potluck-style dinner and centers around different conversation prompts and themes. In February the theme was different forms of love and in March the theme is set to be Women’s History Month.

“This month we'll have conversations about women through history, inspiring women, how to be an ally to women, etc.,” JoeHahn said.

Molly Simon, director at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center where the event is hosted, spoke about the impact this event has had on local LGBTQ+ seniors.

“We had a member who had been coming to the center for several years, and he thought he was the only gay person who came to the senior center. The event helps people feel seen and not alone, which has been wonderful,” Simon said.

Generations of Pride’s next event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 from 5-7 p.m. at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center. As a potluck-style dinner, attendees are encouraged to bring food and friends.

More information about Generations of Pride and LGBTQ+ Western can be found on their website and Instagram.

“Attending these events is a wonderful opportunity to make connections with older people,” Angell said. “You can find positive role models and have the chance to be seen and heard.”

Julia Larson

Julia Larson (she/her) is a campus life reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a second-year journalism/public relations major and a German minor. In her free time she enjoys baking, collecting crystals and traveling. You can reach her at

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