The GAY ELDER CIRCLE | Serving the Los Angeles, California gay community and beyond.
The Gay Elder Circle

Eldering Directory

One of the purposes of the Gay Elder Circle is to do eldering, primarily in the Los Angeles gay community. The term "eldering" is not in wide usage at this time and may be new to you. It implies that elders actively do something called eldering, largely with adults, just as adults do something called mentoring, largely with youth. In the process, a profound, dynamic and visible cross-generational interdependence emerges and the continuity of life is revealed. Intergenerational interdependence is foundational to the day-to-day functioning of a healthy and vital community.

The Gay Elder Council functions at both a group level and an individual level in our community work. Below our members describe themselves and the areas in which they are particularly gifted and skilled in the hopes that their life experience and knowledge might be useful to others—in the process doing eldering. At the same time, the Circle recognizes that eldering is a two-way street. If eldering is working right, both the life of the younger person and the older person are enriched and spiritually fed. Successful eldering is often dependent on the genius of the older person and the genius of the younger person being similar and finding each other. Eldering is never sexual due to the power differential involved.

 

Our initiated Gay Elders include (alphabetically):

BRIAN DORAN |ED HANSEN | DON KILHEFNER | ALLEN PAGE | JOHN RUGGLES | FRED WILKEY |


BRIAN DORAN has been a priest in the Los Angeles area for forty-three years. For 12 years he lived and served the LGBT Community in West Hollywood.  Now retired as a pastor, he continues to assist in a number or parishes.

 

 

 

 


ED HANSEN, Rel.D., is a retired United Methodist pastor who has played a leadership role within his denomination to encourage the church to be more welcoming and affirming of its LGBTQ members. In 1965-66, during his fourth year of seminary, he served a one year internship at the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco where he worked with young adults and gay hustlers in the Tenderloin and in community organizing related to the federal anti-poverty program. Upon returning to seminary, Ed wrote his dissertation on “The Church’s Ministry with Homosexuals” and proposed that the church offer to marry committed gay couples. Since then and throughout his years as the senior pastor at Hollywood United Methodist Church (1996-2006), Ed has led classes, spoken to groups and organized a “Telling Our Stories” event in support of the welcoming efforts.

Ed is a graduate of San Diego State University (B.A. 1962 & M.S. 1978) and Claremont School of Theology (Rel.D., 1967). After graduating from seminary he was appointed to serve a small interracial congregation in San Diego where he became involved in a gay bar ministry and sponsored a small support group for gay persons. He also was involved in efforts to have the San Diego school curriculum reflect ethnic diversity and participated in protests against the war in Vietnam. The Methodist congregation he served hosted the first Metropolitan Community Church congregation in San Diego while they gained strength and began their search for a site of their own.

Ed began serving on the AIDS Ministry Committee of his Methodist Conference in 1985 and was part of the founding team of the Strength for the Journey retreat for persons living with HIV/AIDS that began in 1988. After Ed retired, July, 2006, he moved in with his partner whom he had met in 1998, and he continued his volunteer work with Strength for the Journey, AIDS Ministry, Reconciling Congregation efforts (having congregations become welcoming of LGBTQ persons), Elder Pastors, and the Gay Elder Circle (since December, 2009). Ed was married for thirty years and has two sons and one granddaughter. In 1993, shortly before he and his wife decided to separate, he wrote a paper called: “The Heterosexually Married Homosexual Male”.


DON KILHEFNER, Ph.D., played a pioneering role in the creation of the Gay Liberation movement as a leader and organizer of the revolutionary Gay Liberation Front of Los Angeles (1969-1971). From 1971-1982, he was also a co-founder (with Morris Kight) of Los Angeles' Gay Community Services Center (now the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center), the largest organization of its kind in the world, the Van Ness Recovery House (the first residential treatment facility for gay/lesbian alcoholics and addicts) and the beginning stages of the Alcoholism Center for Women. Don has helped organize many seminal organizations in the Los Angeles and national gay communities including (with Harry Hay) the Radical Faeries, an international gay consciousness and spirituality movement.

In 1982 he returned to graduate school to receive a second M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology, becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in gay-centered Jungian depth psychology. He also completed seven years of training in shamanic practice under Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Don has taught an annual workshop in Los Angeles titled "Seeing in the Dark: An Introduction to Gay Shamanism" and founded the Gay Men's Medicine Circle, a shamanic circle focused on the well-being of gay men and the welfare of the gay community.

Between 1982-2008, in addition to his private practice as a Jungian psychologist and shamanic healer in West Hollywood, he also developed a series of community-based workshops that focus on the needs of gay youths, adults and elders. A year-long workshop titled "Father Hunger: The Union of the Son of Promise and the Father of Achievement" was directed toward assisting young gay men make the transition from youth into adulthood. Another workshop (co-facilitated with Roberto Blain) was titled "Gay Men and Midlife Awakening: Rites of Passage Into the Second Half of Life" and focused on the need to create visible functioning adults in the gay community. A third workshop, titled "Gay Elder: Archetype of the Spiritual Father," is aimed at creating conscious and visible gay elders.

In 2008, Don took the lead in creating Los Angeles' Gay Elder Circle which focuses on bringing the traditional role of awake elder into being and building an intergenerational community. With Project: Service L.A., a LGBT spiritual community, and the Gay Elder Circle, he assisted in creating "Ask the Elders," an on-going, monthly evening of intergenerational dialogue held in Los Angeles.


ALLEN PAGE is an Intuitive Guide, Channel and Medium offering transformational guidance, messages and Ageless Wisdom for learning, healing and personal growth. A native of New Orleans, his African, European and First Nations heritage informs his practice and inspires his ongoing study of the world’s sacred traditions and their inherent unity.

Allen’s community involvement began with his participation in the revolutionary First Spiritual Conference for Radical Faeries in the Arizona desert in 1979. After that life-changing Labor Day Weekend, he and his creative partner produced an audio-visual presentation of images from the gathering and presented it around California. Allen’s written evocation of that weekend has appeared twice in RFD Magazine and was published in the 2011 anthology The Fire in Moonlight edited by Mark Thompson.

Allen participated in the first Day of Inter-generational Dialog envisioned and organized by Don Kilhefner in1998. He was initiated into the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Medicine Circle in 2002 and has participated in its community seasonal ceremonies. He has given presentations at In the Meantime in the GLBT African-American community; presented consciousness and community-building workshops at the California Men’s Gatherings; spoken on a panel about the Native American Two Spirit tradition after a screening of the documentary “Two Spirits”; and spoke on a panel honoring pioneering gay visionary and activist Harry Hay at the One Institute.

Allen is also one of the co-founding members of the Los Angeles Gay Elder Circle, for which he facilitated its first public exploration of the necessity and function of elders in our community in 2011. He has been a panelist for subsequent Ask the Elders intergenerational dialog events co-sponsored by Project: Service LA. He participated as an elder at Models of Pride on the USC campus in 2013; was interviewed in the fundraising video for The Lavender Effect’s Oral History Project; and has served as a volunteer on the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles Gay Healers’ Circle, as well as on the board of the Los Angeles Hospice at Anam Cara. His poems appear in the 2008 anthology My Life is Poetry edited by Steven Reigns.

Allen speaks on consciousness, spirituality and healing, and on the sacred role of queer people as revealed through cross-cultural indigenous traditions. An avid student and proponent of our history, culture and purpose, he recently organized and facilitated a community conversation on the Two Spirit and African Dagara Gatekeeper traditions for queer people of all genders and persuasions. He enjoys helping others remember, renew and celebrate our gifts, our accomplishments and our lives.


JOHN RUGGLES is a fourth generation California native and a retired social worker, and has been a member of the Gay Elder Circle from its inception. He worked for several years in the early 80s at A Different Light, the first gay and lesbian bookstore in Los Angeles. After completing a master s degree and licensure as a therapist, he worked for over 20 years at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. During this time he also facilitated groups and counseled individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, and continues this work currently with Strength for the Journey. He is also very active in the 12-Step community. He sees his involvement with the Gay Elder Circle as a valuable part of a productive retirement, which also includes lots of movies, a little gardening, and piano lessons.


FRED WILKEY, EdD, is a clinical psychologist with over 40 years of counseling experience. He is 68 years old and has a private practice in psychotherapy in West Hollywood. His decades of volunteer service currently includes working with military veterans. He has explored many varieties of spirituality, with a present focus on non-duality. He has no interest in retirement.

 


If you wish to contact any of the members of the Gay Elder Circle, please contact John Ruggles at jhrinla@att.net.