Jo and Liz - Stories from the image library
Jo, 67, and Liz, 60, talk about their experience of being photographed for our Age-positive image library.
Jo and Liz, who have been together for nearly 27 years and have five children, talk about the importance of representation for older LGBTQ+ people.
Jo and Liz and used to have a company together. The company that they founded together (which is still running) trains children how to cycle in schools across the country. In the last five years Jo has reinvented herself as a creative writer. She’s just finishing her first children’s novel. Liz is now retired and is quite happy to be retired.
On being a part of the image library
Jo: We feel really good about contributing to something that’s so positive to our community. Particularly because there was an advert for LGBTQ+ housing development in Manchester recently and the picture that accompanied the press release was atrocious. We actually wrote to the housing association and complained.
Liz: We said you’re using the wrong image.
Jo: It’s so wrong- that's not us, that’s not our community. Of course, there are some people who are frail, but that’s not the whole picture.
Liz: The photoshoot for the image library was really good to do, the photographer was lovely. We knew some of the women on the shoot, but we met some new women that we didn’t know. I think it’s a really good thing to have a library.
Jo: We were so pleasantly surprised at what an enjoyable experience it was, and we went away feeling like we’re contributing. We felt lovely about seeing the photos because it was like seeing our relationship validated.
On why positive and accurate representation is important
Liz: I think, for instance, with children’s books now, they have more Black characters, they’ve got gay characters, trans characters, and children can relate to that, because they can say, ‘Oh there’s somebody in the story like me’.
Jo: Also, in the past, older gay people have been invisible, because they’ve been invisible in society. In public perception, there isn’t a particular image of the gay man or lesbian. So, it’s important to just show us in normal life, just enjoying ourselves and doing normal things, but positively as well.
Liz: We’ve been together for nearly 27 years now and we have five children. And they helped a lot of gay and lesbian kids throughout their school life.
On getting older
Liz: I quite like getting older, I’ve worked all my life, I’ve worked since I was 16. I don’t mind getting older.
Jo: It’s mixed! I am 7 years older than Liz. There are definite benefits, and it’s so nice to slow down and lead a more self-determined life. There’s a worry it might be too slow or boring.
Liz: It will never be too slow or boring for Jo!
Jo: The images we had when we were younger of people in our 60s, none of us are conforming to that. Most of the time we feel really lucky to have our health, and that it’s really important to do things while you can.