Mar 08, 2017

A Rainbow Pathway

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re going. Acceptance and a welcoming attitude is a valued asset. How did Alma become such a gem?

“I found out my niece was a lesbian, and my sister never told me. I wanted to know why. I asked her, and she said ‘I thought you wouldn’t like it’ and I said she’s my niece, she’s still my niece, she’s not changed at all!”

Alma has lived at Uniting Elanora aged care in Shellharbour for two years. Originally from England, she made Australia her home at a very young age, living in Padstow in Sydney. A very busy and active life with her children, Alma was always a social person.

Having family connections so far away, close friends become just like family.

Alma is what we call an LGBTI ally. Someone who respects and cares for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community, without identifying as LGBTI.

“My mother used to say don’t judge anybody, no one is better than you, as good as you, but not better. Whether it’s the King of England, a lawyer or a pauper,” Alma says.

Walter de Ruyter, Service Manager at Uniting Elanora organised for a rainbow path to be created at the service, involving local preschool children, residents, staff and volunteers. The creation of the path was used to show the service’s support for diversity and the LGBTI community.

“You just have to be who you are,” says Alma. “I had the accident and lost my leg,” she says. One very calm morning walking along with her husband, Alma was struck by a truck, causing her devastating injuries. She lost her leg, but her strength and resilience didn’t waver for a moment.

Alma and her husband moved to Kiama after the accident, where she made many friends. “ I loved Kiama, we had millionaire views from our caravan, where the grandkids loved coming to stay,” she remembers.

Alma became a traveller and had a lot of fun at her swimming club. After nearly 30 years in aqua aerobics, she still meets up with her friends in Kiama, and they visit Alma at Uniting Elanora.

“Since my accident I feel I’ve made more friends, or so I believe. Sometimes challenges bring you closer to people,” she explains.

Alma loves chatting to people, whoever they are, without judgement. “I don’t care if people don’t like me, I like me,” she says.

“You have to be good to everybody, we should stop all this nonsense. We’re too politically incorrect these days. We should just stretch out our hands and say, how do you do?”

Uniting is accredited with the Rainbow Tick for standing with people from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex communities, at every stage of life.

This story was originally posted on Uniting’s website on 8th February, 2017

Watch more of Alma’s story below

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