« November 2013 | Main | January 2014 »

8 posts from December 2013

December 31, 2013

2013: Our Year in Pictures

Join us as we relive a few great moments of 2013 at SAGE! Our video highlights SAGE's programs, services, events and, of course, Pride! Our shout-out for the new year.

December 24, 2013

Celebrating the End of 2013 and Looking to the Future

Michael-AdamsToday's blog post is written by SAGE Executive Director, Michael Adams.

I look back in awe of 2013 and the dynamic changes that have taken place for members of the LGBT community across the local and national landscape. It’s been a benchmark year – a game-changer, if you will – and I’m grateful for this opportunity to share some of the unique contributions that SAGE has made to better the lives of LGBT people – made possible thanks to your continued generosity and support.

This past June, LGBT people across the country (and around the world) celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. U.S. to overturn the ban on federal recognition of same sex marriages in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the days following the decision, many SAGE constituents said that this was as seminal a moment for LGBT civil rights as the Stonewall Riots 44 years earlier —and that they felt privileged to have witnessed both events. We at SAGE celebrated the Supreme Court victory joyously – certainly on a personal level, as the wonderful Edie Windsor is a longtime SAGE member and former Board member Edie’s victory speaks to the pioneering spirit among SAGE’s elder constituents; their courage during decades of adversity; and a perseverance that has paved the way for opportunity among this and future generations of LGBT people.

Continue reading "Celebrating the End of 2013 and Looking to the Future" »

December 19, 2013

2013 Toys Party Recap!

On December 15, 2013, hosts Robbie Brown, David Tufts and Chris Kann along with SAGE held the 28th annual Toys Party at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60. Hailed as the best LGBT holiday party of the year, over 2,500 attendees donated toys that will be delivered to various NYC charities for children during the holiday season. Inside, guests mixed and mingled to the sounds of DJ Johnny Dynell, while enjoying cocktails, photobooths and Santas throughout the night. Special guest, Lorraine Bracco introduced Mayor Bloomberg who made a special speech to the crowd as it is his last Toys Party as NYC Mayor.

View a slideshow of photos from the event below or on our Flickr page!

December 17, 2013

Be Out2Enroll by December 23

This blog post is from Out2Enroll. Out2Enroll is an organization devoted to helping all LGBT people find the answers they need to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For details specific to LGBT older adults, please visit the SAGE Affordable Care Act site here.

OuttoenrollHappy holidays! This year, we’re celebrating more than family, friends, food, and exciting progress in the fight for marriage equality. Why? Because December is also about health. Your health. Your family’s health. Your friends’ health. Our community’s health.

Why? For too long, health care has failed to meet the needs of many in the LGBT community. It has failed to provide coverage when we needed it most, failed to recognize our families, and failed to protect us from financial ruin.

Our community deserves better. Which is why we are excited for the new affordable options that are now available thanks to health reform!

For the first time for many, financial assistance is available to help you afford low- or no-cost health insurance and you may be able to apply jointly with your same-sex partner. Plus, the new marketplaces and coverage cannot discriminate against LGBT people. You can expect the same access to services that non-LGBT people receive and you can no longer be denied coverage or charged more simply for being yourself. And these are just a few of the new benefits.

Why the holidays? Because December – specifically, December 23 – is the date you need to enroll in health insurance to make sure you have coverage on January 1, 2014. You can still sign up next year but it’s important to start the new year off healthy – and covered!

Still have questions? No problem. There are great LGBT-specific resources at www.out2enroll.org, which has answers to your most burning LGBT questions, an awesome video from Jason Collins, and a blog with stories of people like you who were able to get health insurance that fits their needs and their budget.

This holiday season, make sure you check out www.out2enroll.org and connect with www.healthcare.gov to explore your new coverage options today by December 23!

December 12, 2013

Social Security Update: Check out same-sex couples benefits!

2212726UPDATE: On December 16, 2013, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, released a new statement on payments to same-sex married couples. Read it now.

As 2013 draws to a close, we want to highlight some important changes in Social Security that affects all older adults—including the LGBT community! Check out the following and stay informed. For a large list of Social Security resources and articles geared to LGBT older adults, visit the resource page at the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

News from the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • The SSA announced on October 30, 2013 that for people who already receive a monthly Social Security benefit, the monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 1.5% in 2014.  The 1.5%cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.
  • Social Security is now processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. In the coming weeks and months, SSA will work with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. If you know someone who you believe may be eligible for Social Security benefits, we encourage you to tell them to apply now to protect against the loss of any potential benefits. The SSA will process claims as soon as additional instructions become finalized.  Information also will be posted on a web page dedicated to issues relevant to same-sex couples.  
  • The SSA is encouraging people to apply for a My Social Security account.  For people who already receive a monthly Social Security and/or SSI cash benefit, they may use their account to get proof of their monthly income without having to call or visit a local Social Security office!  They’ll also be able to change their address and direct deposit online!  If you need help, the SSA has created two fact sheets on creating an account and verifying benefits.

Interested in learning more? The official website of the Social Security Administration has a plethora of information about various programs and benefits with easy to follow instructions and guides.

 

December 10, 2013

International Human Rights Day: LGBT Around the World

MandelaquoteIn 1993, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights. This declaration reaffirmed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter and remains a blueprint for reaffirming human rights as a universal standard throughout the world. Today is International Human Rights Day and the U.N. is marking the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declration. We recognize this day for its affect on promoting all freedoms--civil, political, economical, social and cultural--under a large umbrella. While sad, it almost seems appropriate that this day also marks the memorial to Nelson Mandela--that tireless fighter for human rights.

On this day, many are making a call for renewing a committment to LGBT rights. While we have much to celebrate in 2013, there is still progress to be made, both in the United States and around the world.

In the United States, 16 states have legal same-sex marriage and 33 states have same-sex marriage bans. Also, 21 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 17 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. We have to remember that these stats don't encompass the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community every day in their schools, places of work or where they live.

According to Stonewall UK, "being gay is illegal in 78 countries across the world and being a lesbian is illegal in 49. In five countries same-sex sexual activity carries the death penalty.
Even where it’s legal to be gay other laws often stand in the way of equality. In some cases gay pride marches are not allowed and neither is literature that ‘promotes homosexuality’ - which often means it simply states its existence." Another breakdown from 76Crimes, lists 78 (plus 4) countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by LGBTI people.

On this International Human Rights Day, SAGE joins the chorus in calling for a better recognition of human rights for our community around the world and commends the work of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. We encourage folks to watch this excellent video from the United Nations and share.

 

December 5, 2013

A BIG Thank You to our Volunteers

Today is International Volunteer Day and we would love to recognize all of the amazing work our volunteers do for SAGE. The United Nations started this international observance back in 1985 and this year's focus is "Young. Global. Active." While the U.N. recognizes the contributions of all volunteers, they are paying special tribute to youth volunteers. We want to celebrate ALL of our volunteers, young and old, because SAGE volunteers run the gamut.

From our recent Thanksgiving event, where our volunteers spent the day with us, instead of with their own family and friends, to our Friendly Visitors, who make the lives of homebound LGBT seniors a bit easier, to those leading our karaoke nights, our volunteers fulfill a crucial part of our mission -- to improve the lives of LGBT older adults. 

Volunteers are truly the backbone of SAGE. Without them, we would not be able to offer the breadth of services and programs at our main SAGE office and our SAGENet affiliates across the country! We appreciate everything our volunteers do and if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, be sure to check out the options on our site.

You can also read why Mark Galvez volunteers at SAGE, view some pictures of our volunteers in action this Thanksgiving or watch our video below celebrating our Friendly Visitors!

 

December 1, 2013

Recognizing World AIDS Day

WAD-logo-2013In recognition of World AIDS Day, SAGE honors those who we have lost to the disease and all people currently living and caring for those who have HIV/AIDS.  Considering that research indicates that by 2015 half of the people living with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50 years old, this is an issue that SAGE is deeply involved in, both in the services we offer and the federal policy work we do in conjunction with AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). 

Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation," this year's theme, focuses on the strides made with preventative care and treatment with the goal of ending this devastating epidemic. Watch the video below from UNAIDS for a hopeful message from Executive Director Michel Sidibé and read on for more links about the day.