Paco Lachoy is the editor and publisher of The Reno Gay Page, a long-running newspaper covering the LGBTQ community in Northern Nevada. It’s now published exclusively online at therenogaypage.wordpress.com. Lachoy is also involved with organizing events for LGBTQ seniors, like one held on May 23 starting at noon at Our Center, 1745 S. Wells Ave.
Let’s start with the event on Thursday, which is called Aging with Pride. Is that right?
Well, that’s the name of the program. The event on Thursday is actually Older LGBTQA Nevadans Day. It’s part of Older Americans month. The event itself is to kick off our Aging with Pride program, which is programs for seniors at Our Center, which is the local LGBTQ community center. And one of the reasons that we’re starting this program is because LGBTQ seniors are seven times more likely to be alone, and Reno City Council’s directive to the Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee is that they want seniors to be social and active. … One of the problems that we know exists is that, in the general senior population, the hate still exists just because of the nature of our ages. They haven’t assimilated the gay senior population into their population like the Millennials and the Gen Xers have. We want to create a place where all seniors are welcome regardless of if they’re gay or not. We know that by telling our stories and people getting to know us that we win hearts and change minds, and there’s acceptance. … We’re going to have our S5 luncheon. It’s called S5 because it stands for seniors, sandwiches, soups, salads and socialization. … We’re going to have one once a month, always on the fourth Thursday of the month from noon until 1:30. … And we’ll have a senior dance at Our Center, also. Everybody is invited, but it’s basically a senior dance, so there will be music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. We’re also going to have a rainbow pancake breakfast. The purpose of the breakfast is so … the seniors can share their stories with the younger generation. Because, with it being the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall this year, a lot of seniors have been through that turmoil of what times were like back then. The younger people have no idea what it was like. We want them to know our history and how we got to where we are. Because as long as it took for us to get to where we are, it could be changed instantly.
Tell me about the Reno Gay Page.
It’s the 26th year. I started it in 1993. … But the Reno Gay Page was started because there wasn’t one in town. … Anne Pershing—she ran the paper in Fallon for a long time and then went to work for the Reno Gazette Journal. She’s passed, but she was the only place where I could get the paper printed when it started in October of 1993. And I had to take it out to them and then leave it overnight and then get it printed. And then go back and get it the next day. Well, 60 miles in Nevada is nothing, you know. That was fine. But when I went to pick up the paper … I went into her office, we sat down, she had a copy of the paper, and she was going through, and she said, “It’s a newspaper! It’s a real newspaper!” And to me that was puzzling because that was what it was supposed to be.
What’s new around the community?
AJR2 is supposed to be on the senate floor today, up for a vote—I haven’t watched yet, so I don’t know if it got bumped again—which is the one that will change the definition of marriage in the constitution and make it that the state recognizes all gender marriages, no matter who you happen to be. To me, that’s the most important piece of legislation in the session this year. If it passes the senate today, then it will go to a vote of the people in 2020. And that’s going to be a lot of work.