William E. Kelly Interview
Description: William “Bill” E. Kelly is a local artist who enjoys giving back to the community that inspires and encourages him. Kelly describes his style as New Millennium art. Born and raised in Morris Illinois, about 20 miles southwest of Chicago, Bill struggled for half of his life trying to live as a heterosexual, denying his true self and living the life others had chosen for him risking the happiness of not only himself but of those around him as well. After his tour in the United States Air Force from 1970-1975, Bill and his wife decided it best to separate while there was still time for each of them to find happiness. Moving to Chicago in 1976 ultimately led to meeting his soul-mate, Bob Taylor in 1978 (Married in 2008 in California). For the last ten years Bill has been an advocate for the aging LGBT population. Kelly originally got behind the cause after he, along with his husband, cared for his aging parents when they lived in the Midwest. A few years later they moved to California to take care of Taylor’s parents. Kelly said that despite the differences in income, education and living conditions, the issues are the same. “What I discovered, is that the problems are the same for every senior no matter what their background is or what their situation is. What makes the difference is the priority of their issues,” he said, adding that money, transportation and a combination of other variables come into play. “The community is ill-prepared to meet the increasing burdens that a growing senior and LGBT senior population is experiencing or about to experience in increasing numbers,” Kelly said. “We live longer with more complicated health, social and other issues than ever before. This is a brewing crisis. We need to not only make the community aware of the challenges but bring them together to find reasonable solutions. It is upon the backs of our seniors that we today enjoy the freedoms we have won. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Bill has been recognized as an outstanding activist and contributor with his commitment to LGBT Seniors while serving on the Board of the Human Dignity Foundation and was appointed by Interim Mayor, Todd Gloria to The San Diego Senior Affairs Advisory Board and by Mayor Kevin Faulconer as chair 2014-15.
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