January 3, 2018

The data behind fostering intergenerational connections in the LGBT community

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Did you know that only 21.7 percent of surveyed LGBT people of all ages know who will take care of them when they’re older? No one did—until we asked.

In 2016, SAGE conducted a detailed literature review on cross-generational LGBT relationships and uncovered a distinct lack of research and methodology on intergenerational community building. In order to bring to understand the unique issues faced when fostering multigenerational LGBT communities, we launched SAGE Table in the spring of the following year. Thanks to the partnership of social-science firm interstitio and support from AARP, we were able to devote time to rigorous research and analysis in order to make our learnings available to all.

Read and download the research summary of our pilot program to convene intergenerational groups in the service of fostering connections and building community within different age groups of the LGBT family. It is SAGE’s hope that creating resources like this one will allow communities of LGBT people and allies anywhere to develop intentional intergenerational events and build bridges within our communities, no matter where we are.

If you have thoughts or questions on our research, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at engagement@sageusa.org.

 

December 22, 2017

SAGE Harlem: New Year, New Space

 

SAGE Harlem has moved! As of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, SAGE Harlem will be located at 220 West 143rd Street (entrance mid-block on 142nd St. between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd). See the map below (click to enlarge).

Sage harlem map

 

Download the January event highlights and meal calendar. The full events calendar is below (click to enlarge):

Harlem calendar

 

Participants can also visit our four other SAGE Centers in the city: 

Edie Windsor SAGE Center (formerly SAGE Center Midtown)
305 Seventh Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 646-576-8669

SAGE Center Bronx
Union Community Health Center
260 East 188th Street
Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: 718-960-3354

SAGE-Pride Center of Staten Island
25 Victory Boulevard, 3rd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301
Phone: 718-808-1365

SAGE-GRIOT
GRIOT Circle, Inc.
25 Flatbush Avenue, 5th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718-246-2775

Or visit other nearby senior centers:

ABSW NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
221 WEST 107TH STREET

AP RANDOLPH SENIOR CENTER 
120 WEST 140TH STREET

ARC CENTRAL HARLEM SENIOR CENTER
120 WEST 140TH STREET

BEATRICE LEWIS
34 WEST 134TH STREET

BETHUNE SENIOR CENTER
2005 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

CANAAN NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
10 LENOX AVENUE

CARTER BURDEN ISC
312 EAST 109 STREET

CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER 
55 EAST 102ND STREET

CENTRAL HARLEM KENNEDY SENIOR CENTER
34 WEST 134TH STREET

CORSI HOUSE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
307 EAST 116TH STREET

COTHOA LUNCHEON CLUB NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2005 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

EAST HARLEM NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
150 EAST 121ST STREET

GAYLORD WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2029 SECOND AVENUE

GODDARD RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
593 COLUMBUS AVENUE

HAMILTON GRANGE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
420 WEST 145TH STREET

JACKIE ROBINSON NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
1301 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

JEFFERSON HOUSES NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2205 FIRST AVENUE

LEHMAN SOCIAL CLUB
1641 MADISON AVENUE

MANHATTANVILLE RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
3333E BROADWAY

PHILIP RANDOLPH NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
108 WEST 146TH STREET

PSS HARLEM NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
18 MT. MORRIS PARK WEST

UBA BEATRICE LEWIS NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2322 THIRD AVENUE

UBA MARY BETHUNE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
1970 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

December 19, 2017

Pat Baldwin: Advocating for LGBTQ Elders in Michigan

Pat_BaldwinFive years ago, Pat Baldwin walked into the office of the executive director at the Hannan Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the dignity of elders in the state of Michigan, and took a seat. Pat, who is the director of the Hannan Center for Lifelong Learning, wanted to speak with the foundation’s director about an issue close to her heart—an issue for which she knew Hannan was uniquely suited to make a difference.

Having worked with older adults and the aging population at Hannan for the past 17 years, Pat recalls that she had seen an increase in troubling situations where LGBTQ people faced rampant discrimination or, more often, experienced almost complete invisibility.

"In the Detroit area, I knew that in senior centers and places where seniors go for programming, there wasn't really any mention at all of LGBTQ elders," Pat says. "I wanted to change that. I wanted to concentrate on being inclusive to the elders in the LGBTQ community.”

The Hannan Foundation, which has a long history as an innovative, trailblazing leader committed to the needs of LGBTQ older adults, saw the gap in the Detroit area and set to work on filling it.

"At the board level, we started with something as simple as changing the language in our publications to be as inclusive as possible to LGBTQ people," Pat explains. "We started including language that we were 'open and affirming,' and we took the time to tell our participants what this all means. We changed HR information, made sure we as an organization took a proactive stance for LGBTQ people in our non-discrimination policy, provided diversity and inclusion training, and worked to be sure LGBTQ elders were comfortable."

This attention can help a person recognize their own self-worth and feel a sense of belonging to a community, Pat explains. And while many LGBTQ young people have been embraced and supported by friends and family members, LGBTQ elders grew up in a different generation where they may have lacked a support system, experienced financial disparities, or feared reprisal if they came out as LGBTQ.

"I've had LGBTQ people tell me that they feel very comfortable here, and that makes me feel good," Pat says. "I want to be sure everyone is cared for."

Pushing for Non-Discrimination Protections at the Local Level 

Even though advocates like Pat have been stepping up for their communities across the nation, the reality is that in Michigan, just like in 31 other states, LGBTQ people are not fully and explicitly protected from discrimination.

"I was appalled to know that here in Michigan, the Elliott-Larsen Act did not cover the civil rights of people in the LGBTQ community," Pat says. As a lifelong resident of Detroit, Pat says it’s important to her that this situation change. She's proud of her city and her state, and she wants to ensure that no one fears discrimination in their local community.

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Pat credits an attorney friend with introducing her to some of the challenges LGBTQ elders endure because of the scarcity of non-discrimination laws. "She was the spark that lit my fire," Pat says about her friend, recalling an anecdote about a transgender person whose guardianship was granted to someone who did not support their gender identity and subsequently saw their hormones withheld and gender-affirming medical care held hostage.

"Some of these stories made me think about how that would feel—how personnel and staff treat people sometimes, and how we could do better," she says. "Then I started being more cognizant, aware, and intentional about wanting to be a better advocate."

Pat has been an advocate for LGBTQ people in Michigan for many years, most prominently as a board member of SAGE Metro-Detroit. SAGE is the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, and Pat says she is thrilled to help it make a positive impact.

"I'm very proud and very humbled to be a part of SAGE," Pat says. "This is very important work, and I'm so happy to be a part of it."

Today, part of that work is focused on securing inclusive protections for the LGBTQ community in Michigan, whether it’s creating an equitable workplace, finding welcoming housing, or seeking business services.

"It would be monumental if the Elliott-Larsen Act were amended to prohibit discrimination based on LGBTQ identity," Pat says, although she adds that enforcing the law involves its own set of challenges. Increasing public support and educating more Michiganders about LGBTQ people and the discrimination they face is a central need. "But if we passed the law, it would show that we're a very forward-thinking state and that we have recognized that this is the right thing to do. It should have been done a long time ago."

Shaped by Family & Faith

Pat is an ally of the LGBTQ community who identifies as straight, is married to a man, and has four children and five grandchildren. What’s more, she recognizes the importance of non-LGBTQ people standing up and speaking out in favor of equal treatment.

She recalls one story that illustrates the importance of treating everyone equally. When Pat was younger, her cousin began transitioning from male to female, and at one point, they sat Pat and her mother down to announce the news.

"My mom was very nonchalant about it all, and after my cousin talked and said what she needed, my mom said, 'I love you. I want you to be happy, whatever that is.' I really appreciated that," Pat says. “For her to say that was good at the time, of course, but it was also important for me to hear that. It was nice to see that my mom was happy that my cousin was happy to be the person that they're meant to be. That set a good example for me." 

Pat also says she finds strength in her faith. "I know that the Jesus I serve is one who loves everyone for who they are," she says. Pat recognizes that the official policies of some religious officials contradict that view, but she sees a change in the future. "The bottom line is that people from the LGBTQ community should be able to be their authentic selves," she says. "You have to just stay true to what you know." —Adam Polaski, Freedom for All Americans

December 5, 2017

Equality Is Not a Cakewalk for LGBT Elders

SAGE’s Director of Advocacy, Aaron Tax, and Dr. Imani Woody—LGBTQ activist and founder of Mary’s House, the first LGTBQ senior housing development in Washington, D.C.—spoke at the ACLU’s rally on the Supreme Court steps before opening arguments for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado on December 5, 2017. Below are their remarks.


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Equality Is Not a Cakewalk for LGBT Elders

Good morning! I’m Aaron Tax, the Director of Advocacy at SAGE. We are the nation’s largest and oldest advocacy and services organization for LGBT older adults.

Why are we here today? It’s because the opportunity for LGBT older adults to grow old with the dignity and support they need and deserve is fundamentally at risk in this case.    

When LGBT older adults get a meal at a senior center, enter long-term care, or seek funeral arrangements for a loved one, make no mistake, none of those institutions are making a statement about LGBT people.

Why? Because these institutions are open to the public. And they and their employees are simply serving the public.

We all agree businesses can make decisions about what kinds of products or services they provide—but they cannot pick and choose whom they serve. A senior center can choose to open its doors to seniors, it can offer canasta or bingo, or, let’s hope, something much more interesting. But it can’t decide to serve only people of certain religions or races, or specific sexual orientations or gender identities, but not others.   

If we allow businesses to exempt themselves from laws barring discrimination, we’d return to a time when businesses open to the public engaged in outright discrimination against people for all sorts of reasons. 

We, as a nation, decided to close that chapter of our history, which is why we have laws that ensure businesses don’t discriminate among customers based on who they are.

At SAGE, we know that LGBT older adults can’t afford to go back to a time when businesses, aging providers, and others, could display a sign in their window saying, “LGBT elders not served here.” That’s not the society we want to live in. And perhaps more importantly, our Constitution doesn’t protect that kind of discrimination. Thank you.


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We Cannot Turn the Clock Back to a Time When Discrimination Was Legal

I’m Imani Woody. I’m a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and an elder lesbian of African descent.

This case is a personal one to me, because we all know that it goes beyond cake and wedding planners. My ability to go to a restaurant, catch a cab, go to the doctor, or even just go to the movies with my wife are threatened if people can use their religion as a license to discriminate.

In the ’60s, people used race to discriminate against my family and not allow my mother, who was deathly ill, to be treated at a hospital that was nearby. Because of this discrimination, my father drove us—his five children and his wife—to a hospital that accepted colored people. However, it was too late to save my mother; she died that night. I was 10.

And when my brother died of complications associated with AIDS, the funeral home refused to pick up his body from the hospital—this was after my father had pre-paid funeral arrangements.

So, I know firsthand the havoc discrimination can cause on families and individuals. No matter who you are—you and I, and everyone here today—has a right to equal treatment under the law.

Many LGBT older adults are not as lucky as I am. I am fortunate to have a wife and family. And I have a home. But many LGBT elders can’t be here today on the steps of the Supreme Court. Many of us don’t have family to rely on. Many can’t get to the grocery store, can’t get a meal, or can’t get to the doctor without the assistance of paid businesses. Unfortunately, many of the people and organizations we rely on as we get older are religiously affiliated.  

I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t want to live my life—and I know I can’t live my life—in a world where I never know if my next meal or my next visit to the doctor might be stopped in its tracks because someone wants to use their religion as a license to discriminate against me—because I’m a woman, because I’m Black, or because I’m a lesbian.

The Constitution does not give landlords, senior centers, nursing homes, or hospitals the right to put a sign outside that says “Straight people only.” That’s not my country. And I know that most of us don’t want to live in an America like that either.

By being here today, I’m giving voice to other LGBTQ/SGL elders who share their plight and can’t be here today. And I’m asking the Supreme Court to do the right thing and not turn the clock back to the time of earlier legal discrimination, where children lost their mother, a father lost consideration for a burial, and where people lose their quality of life because discrimination is again legalized. Thank you.

December 4, 2017

LGBT Home Care Workers

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Did you know that LGBT older adults make up 2.7 million of the quickly growing aging population in the United States? By 2030, that number is expected to more than double.

Now more than ever before, there is a high demand for caregiving within the LGBT community. That’s why SAGE is conducting research about home care workers – but we need your help.

Will you participate in a 15-minute phone interview with a member of SAGE’s staff about home care workers? If you’ve hired a home care worker for yourself or a loved one in the past few years, or anticipate needing to so do, please email care@sageusa.org. Thank you for your willingness to speak with us!

Yes, I'll participate in a 15-minute phone interview! >>

November 28, 2017

Welcome to Pride

Age Friendly Pride

 

SAGE is partnering with The Center for Black Equity, Centerlink, and InterPride on an age-friendly Pride initiative. The goal is to encourage the inclusion of older LGBT people in all aspects of Pride marches, parades, and festivals. The first step is hearing from you—those who plan, sponsor, and attend Pride.

We would be grateful if you took a few minutes to complete a brief survey. The results will inform the creation of our Age-Friendly Pride Toolkit, which we hope will be used to increase the age-friendliness of Prides across the country. Thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your feedback!


Pride Participant Survey>>

Pride Planner, Sponsor, and Organizer Survey>>

Sign the Age-Friendly Pride Pledge to be listed on SAGE’s website and in our Welcome to Pride Guide>> 


Thank you to AARP for their generous support of Welcome to Pride: An Age-Friendly Pride Initiative.

November 1, 2017

Caregiving Around the Clock: National Family Caregivers Month and Resources for the LGBT Community

National Caregivers Month (1)Each November we recognize National Family Caregivers Month. As the theme for this year makes clear, many of us are aware that caring for a spouse/partner, family member, or friend is often a 24/7 commitment of caregiving around the clock.

SAGE recognizes the importance of caregiving and planning within the LGBT community. A 2015 AARP report indicates 9 percent (3 million) of the 34.2 million Americans who provide unpaid care to another adult over the age of 50 identify as LGBT.  Additionally, LGBT older adults are less likely to have children and more likely to live alone, meaning that friends or families of choice often step in to provide care and support for LGBT older adults. And while we may anticipate becoming a caregiver for a loved one, we may put off thinking about our own caregiving needs should we have surgery or an illness that requires support from others.

During National Family Caregivers Month, SAGE is excited to introduce two new guides designed to help support the LGBT older adult caregiving community. The first guide, "Caregiving in the LGBT Community: A Guide to Engaging and Supporting LGBT Caregivers Through Programming," provides an overview of caregiving in the LGBT community, along with specific ideas, lessons learned, and best practices for expanding programs to support LGBT caregivers and those caring for LGBT older adults. The second guide, "Create Your Care Plan: An LGBT Person’s Guide to Preparing for Medical Procedures," is designed to help LGBT older adults prepare for surgery or a chronic illness by putting a plan in place for their medical team and caregivers. This guide includes planning worksheets, resources, and tips for getting on the road to a successful recovery. Care-planning worksheets are also available for download.

Take time during National Family Caregivers Month to read through these resources and share with others in your community who may benefit from them. We also recognize that caregiving and recovery from a medical procedure can often be a stressful time. While you may find yourself caregiving around the clock, you are not alone. SAGE’s LGBT Elder Hotline (1-888-234-SAGE) offers peer support and additional resources. The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has a resource page dedicated to caregiving. Together, we can equip ourselves with the knowledge and resources to provide care and support to our LGBT family. —Sherrill Wayland

 

October 31, 2017

What Students Need to Know About LGBT History

LGBTQ History is made every day, not just to be celebrated over the course of one month. We recently asked SAGE Facebook fans about what they view as the most important stories for the next generation to learn. Check out some of the answers below:

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Sidenote: Our Instagram story poll returned almost unanimous results—where's the LGBT History in our schools? We have several Facebook followers who would make A+ teachers, if you're in need!

 

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Join the conversation on Facebook and Like SAGE USA to add your voice to a nation of LGBT elders, allies, and advocates.
—Lucy Doyle

October 30, 2017

Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Pushing Us Back Into the Closet? No Way!

 

C72c6297-a7ff-4ad1-a0b2-6c366523d7a2Can you imagine being forced back into the closet when you and your partner apply for affordable housing? Or not being allowed to honor your spouse's last wishes upon their passing? And all denied to you because an establishment decides to discriminate against you based on its "religious beliefs" or its own definition of free speech? 

The Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case before the United States Supreme Court represents much more than allowing a same-sex couple its right to purchase a wedding cake. It's about protecting older LGBT people from having a license to discriminate in senior centers, housing, long-term care facilities, and funeral homes. That's why SAGE, with the assistance of the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, joined the American Society on Aging when it filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Colorado Court of Appeals' Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling that everyone has a right to equal treatment under the law.

"This case could affect tens of thousands of older LGBT people," says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. "As we have stated in our amicus brief, many LGBT elders are single. Many are poor. And many are in declining health. Most of these LGBT older adults are not looking to buy a custom cake or purchase a floral arrangement or have their picture taken. They are seeking nondiscriminatory access to facilities such as senior centers, long-term care facilities, and funeral homes. They are entitled to live out their later years in dignity. SAGE stands in opposition to allowing discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.”

October 26, 2017

SAGENet Blossoms in the City of Roses


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SAGENet celebrates in Portland.

SAGENet affiliates converged on Portland, Oregon, earlier this month for an annual meeting that brings together the largest group of people in the United States who lead programs tailored to the needs of LGBT older adults.

“Each year, we meet to deepen our skills by sharing what works in our communities,” says Serena Worthington, SAGE’s Director of National Field Initiatives. “It fuels us to do the work we love with and for LGBT elders.”

 

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From left: SAGE Wilmington's Jeff Mills (kneeling), SAGE Hudson Valley's Jeff Rindler, SAGE's Christina Da Costa, SAGE Alaska's Gayle Schuh,
SAGE Raleigh's Bob Wenz, SAGE's Sterling Herr, SAGE PROMO Fund's Dan Stewart, SAGE Utah's Charles Hoy-Ellis, and SAGE Milwaukee's Marissa Burns.

Nearly 40 participants learned about promoting effective grassroots advocacy; fostering good mental health in a post-Trump world; implementing SAGE’s new branding initiative; and much more.

“I found the Media Activist Training to be the most helpful to me personally, since I sometimes have trouble finding the best way to express my thoughts,” says Julie Schmidt of SAGE Alaska about the training offered by Ross Murray, Senior Director of Education and Training at GLAAD. “What jumped out to me was the power of personal stories, a technique that makes a campaign more effective.”

Possibly the most important aspect of this year’s SAGENet meeting was offering the affiliates an opportunity to exchange ideas. “I love to hear about all the wonderful work the other affiliates are doing around the country to make the lives of our LGBT pioneers and advocates better and more fulfilling,” says Marissa Burns of SAGE Milwaukee. “And I love being able to share my experiences in return.”

As with all SAGENet events, there was plenty of time to socialize, this year over ice cream, gourmet doughnuts, and a lavish cocktail party hosted by Glen Ulmer and Marcelo Santibanez in their home, where No Apology from the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus gave a surprise performance.

 

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Seated, from left: SAGE Metro Portland's Max Micozzi and Portland State University's Alan DeLaTorre. Standing, from left: SAGE's Sterling Herr,
SAGE's Serena Worthington, and AARP's Bandana Shrestha.


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Clockwise, from left: SAGE Albuquerque's Havens Levitt, SAGE  of PROMO Fund's Dan Stewart, SAGE of the Rockies' Reynaldo Mireles,
SAGE Cleveland's Mary Beth Bartholomew, SAGE Metro Detroit's Pat Baldwin, SAGE's Bill Gross, and SAGE Center on Halsted's Todd Williams.

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Clockwise, from left: SAGE Tulsa's Olivia Cotter, SAGE Milwaukee's Marissa Burns, SAGE's Karalin Sprague,
GLAAD's Ross Murray, and SAGE of the Desert's Candice Nichols.