AlanHe/Him/His Age: born 1945
I am a gay man (b. 1945) who is a native Chicagoan. As a child I sensed I was different, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I was attracted to men. After college I began to explore my sexuality and embarked on the coming out process via therapy and gay peer support groups. Part of my coming out process resulted in a mid-life career change. In 1979, I left my marketing research career at Midas Muffler Corporation to enroll at Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago where I specialized in gerontology. I received my MSW in 1981 and my doctorate in 1987. While attending school I volunteered at Howard Brown Clinic and co-facilitated a peer support group for single gay and bisexual men age 40+ at Horizons (predecessor to The Center on Halsted).
Until retiring in 2013, I was a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago for 26 years. I was associate director of the federally funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities. I conducted research on community supports that address the later life needs of adults with developmental disabilities and their families and provided training to community agencies in the fields of aging and developmental disabilities.
Since retiring I have continued to consult on aging and disability policies and volunteer in the aging and LBGTQ+ communities. Volunteer activities include the Chicago Network for LGBTQ+ Aging, Chicago PrimeTimers, the Evanston Commission on Aging, and the American Society on Aging Chicagoland chapter.
I am looking forward to participating in the LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project. It affords me an opportunity to learn about different generational perspectives and concerns. I also hope to expand my advocacy for the larger community beyond my gay-centric experiences.