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15 posts from May 2013

May 31, 2013

Untold stories of Asian & Pacific Islander LGBT Elders: “I think the need to be accepted overcame their need to be themselves.”

The following is a guest post by Bryan Pacheco, National Coordinator of the Diverse Elders Coalition.

 

Three things to know as May ends and we look towards June:

  1. May is Older Americans Month.
  2. It’s also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
  3. And I worked for the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults, SAGE.

So, what does this mean?

George
George Takei, Copyright: georgetakei.com
Well, for me, it made me really think: What are the stories being told about older LGBT AAPI people? Are they even being told? Outside of the amazing George Takei, I can’t think of another prominent openly gay Asian American older person. Can you?

 

I am Puerto Rican, gay and not yet 30 years old, so the stories of older LGBT AAPI people are not my personal story. Therefore, it was important that I find individuals who could tell and share these stories… And that was difficult.

For starters, it took me some time to locate older LGBT AAPI people who were willing to share their stories publicly. Even at The SAGE Center, located in a diverse city that is generally LGBT-friendly, I found this to be true. After speaking to a number of people, I quickly learned that silence and visibility are issues within this segment of the community.

For example, I heard:

Continue reading "Untold stories of Asian & Pacific Islander LGBT Elders: “I think the need to be accepted overcame their need to be themselves.”" »

From a Place of Degradation to a Place of Honor

Today's post comes to us from Britta Larson, Senior Services Director at SAGE Center on Halsted.

Town Hall on Halsted
An artistic rendering of Chicago's new affordable LGBT senior housing development. Image courtesy of Gensler.


In just a few short days Center on Halsted, the largest, most comprehensive LGBTQ community Center in the Midwest, along with Heartland Housing, the Midwest’s leading affordable housing developer, will be breaking ground on the region’s first affordable LGBT-friendly senior housing facility. This is truly a historic moment, a moment which many LGBT older adults never thought they would live to see.

Continue reading "From a Place of Degradation to a Place of Honor" »

May 30, 2013

Hepatitis C: Combating the “Silent Killer”

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. To raise awareness about this disease, our SAGE Harlem program partners with Project HEALS (the Hepatitis C Education and Liver Screening Program) to conduct educational sessions centered on hepatitis C, and offer on-site rapid testing for all LGBT older adults who are interested. The following is a guest blog post by Korin Parrella, Outreach Worker at Project HEALS.

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Each year in the United States, 15,000 people die from hepatitis C, a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). You can get hepatitis C from coming into contact with blood that is infected with HCV. In the United States today, the most common way to get hepatitis C is through injection drug use.

HEP-MONTHThere are more than 3 million Americans living with HCV, and most don’t know they have it. Hepatitis C doesn’t have many obvious symptoms, but for some people it can cause serious health problems like liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. When a person is infected with HCV, the virus causes the cells of the liver to start swelling. Over time, all the swelling can lead to scarring. When a person’s liver is very scarred, it cannot filter blood the way the body needs it to. It is at this point that a person may start to feel very sick.

Continue reading "Hepatitis C: Combating the “Silent Killer” " »

May 29, 2013

Almost Here... Pride!

The end of May is especially busy for SAGE as we begin to prepare for June—Pride Month! This year, we are excited to be participating in a number of activities all over New York City and with our SAGENet affiliates throughout the country. We'll also be keeping a close watch on the Supreme Court decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8 (likely to be announced in June), especially with plaintiff Edie Windsor serving as one of the grand marshals of this year's NYC Pride parade. Be sure to sign up for e-mail updates and be the first to find out more about SAGE Pride and any news from the court!

May 28, 2013

SAGE to Receive the Joel A. Toubin Memorial Award

This Wednesday, May 29, at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Whitman-Walker Health will present the Joel A. Toubin Memorial Award to SAGE for our work to raise awareness about issues affecting LGBT elders. We are proud to be receiving this award alongside the Honorable Chai R. Feldblum and the National Center of Transgender Equality (NCTE). Just last week, Metro Weekly published an article about the “Going the Extra Mile” benefit, where we will accept the award. Read the full article below.

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Whitman-Walker Health, the nonprofit community health center specializing in HIV/AIDS and LGBT-sensitive health care, will present three awards recognizing advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community at its May 29 ''Going the Extra Mile'' benefit. The fundraising event benefits Whitman-Walker's legal-services program, which provides pro bono legal advice and representation to LGBT people and those with HIV/AIDS.

At the benefit, Whitman-Walker will present the Joel A. Toubin Memorial Award, for outstanding advocacy on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS, to the Honorable Chai R. Feldblum, commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for her leadership in advancing disability rights and LGBT rights; Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) for the organization's dedication to raising awareness about issues affecting LGBT seniors; and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) for its leadership on behalf of equality for transgender Americans.

Continue reading "SAGE to Receive the Joel A. Toubin Memorial Award" »

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: A Veteran's Story

Bob
Thanks to Robert, and all of our LGBT vets, for their service.

In honor of our LGBT veterans, we wanted to share a special story told to us by Kathleen Sullivan, Director of Senior Services at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center


For the past three years, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center has worked closely with the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration to provide cultural competency training to their staff and connect LGBT older adult with military programs and services at the VA. As a result of their groundbreaking work, Robert, an 88-year old World War II veteran finally got the help he needed—68 years after he served his country bravely and honorably. Listen to our podcast to learn more.

LAGLClogoYou can also learn more about issues facing LGBT veterans by visiting our Veteran's Issue Page on our site. SAGE is also launching a special National Telephone Discussion Group for LGBT Military Service Veterans Aged 60+ with American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER) in June. Read more about the veterans group here.

 

May 22, 2013

The Top 5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About the Older Americans Act (OAA)

This is a guest post by Aaron Tax, SAGE’s Director of Federal Government Relations.

May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor elders’ contributions to our communities. The official site encourages all of us to show our support for Older Americans Month by unleashing the power of age in our community. For the month of May, we will feature a story every Wednesday relevant to LGBT older Americans.

Senator Sanders Kick-starts OAA Reauthorization: Tomorrow, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) will introduce a bill to reauthorize the the Older Americans Act (OAA).  Senator Sanders is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, which has jurisdiction over the reauthorization of the OAA. The bill will be introduced at 11am at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The introduction will be a part of the Older Americans Summit that Senator Sanders and his colleagues are putting together to celebrate Older Americans Month and the bill introduction.

Learn more about the OAA and its implications for LGBT elders by clicking here.

The Top 5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About the Older Americans Act (OAA)

Continue reading "The Top 5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About the Older Americans Act (OAA)" »

May 20, 2013

Council Leaders Identify and Implement LGBT Specific Health Strategies

Chicago
Credit: Healthy Chicago LGBT Community Action Plan
The following is a guest post by Serena Worthington, SAGE's Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity Building.

Tomorrow begins a new adventure in community service for me. I’ll be attending the first meeting of the newly-formed Chicago LGBT Health Advisory Council which was created to “provide insight and input to the Department of Public Health on implementation of the LGBT Health Action Plan.” The LGBT Health Action Plan is an outline of 22 strategies designed to “improve the overall health of Chicago’s LGBT community.”

Our mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had this nice thing to say about the council.

"Chicago's strength is in the diversity of its communities, and I am committed to ensuring that all Chicagoans have access to the care and information they need to live healthy lives and contribute fully to the vibrancy of our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This advisory council will lend important insight and knowledge to our efforts.”

I am joined by 15 talented and accomplished folks, some of whom I know already and some that I am excited to meet for the first time tomorrow. 

Continue reading "Council Leaders Identify and Implement LGBT Specific Health Strategies " »

May 17, 2013

National Nursing Home Week: Caring for LGBT Elders

This is a guest post by Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Did you know? This week (May 12-May 18) is National Nursing Home Week! The theme for this year is team care. At SAGE, we believe it takes a team to deliver culturally competent services to LGBT elders, including those in nursing homes.

For this reason, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging trains thousands of providers across the country on cultural awareness of the particular difficulties that LGBT people face. These certified trainers are then able to provide trainings in their community to policy makers, services providers (including to nursing home staff) and other leaders.

LGBT older adults came of age in a time when there was tremendous discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people.  As a result, many LGBT older adults have concerns about whether they will be treated with dignity and respect in congregate residential settings, such as nursing homes.

Continue reading "National Nursing Home Week: Caring for LGBT Elders" »

May 15, 2013

Infographic: LGBT Health, Racial Disparities, and Aging—by the Numbers

Infographic
Preview. Download the full infographic below
May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor elders’ contributions to our communities. The official site encourages all of us to show our support for Older Americans Month by unleashing the power of age in our community. For the month of May, we will feature a story every Wednesday relevant to LGBT older Americans.

Americans who are people of color, older adults and LGBT identified (referred to in this blog post as LGBT elders of color) often have unique needs because of the intersections of identities. LGBT elders of color are historically marginalized on multiple fronts and their needs are often under addressed in the mainstream aging field and in the popular LGBT rights movement.

To bring awareness to these challenges, in April SAGE released Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color, a report that examines health disparities faced by LGBT elders of color, and offers policy solutions in 10 areas to address these challenges. You can download the report at sageusa.org.

Today, SAGE is supplementing that report with the release of LGBT Health, Racial Disparities, and Aging—By the Numbers, a striking infographic that illustrates the many health and wellness challenges faced by older adults who are people of color and/or LGBT. Some of the findings include:

  • Among LGBT elders, aged 50+, 47% have a disability
  • One quarter of transgender elders age 50+ are in poor health, and 22% could not afford to see a doctor
  • Black people are 2X, and Latino people are about 1.5X more likely, than their White counterparts to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias
  • American Indian/Alaska Native people have higher rates of heart disease and diabetes than other racial/ethnic groups

Download the infographic LGBT Health, Racial Disparities, and Aging—By the Numbers, today! Help raise awareness of the issues faced by LGBT elders of color by sharing it widely.

Continue reading "Infographic: LGBT Health, Racial Disparities, and Aging—by the Numbers" »