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5 posts from January 2015

January 26, 2015

Triumphs of Experience

Many of our SAGE supporters have asked to be kept up on information related to Successful AgingWe recently alerted them to the publication of Triumphs of Experience, a book by the head of the Grant Study of Adult Development at Harvard University.   Showing, as it does, the impact of both circumstances and choices on aging, the book is a great addition to the Successful Aging bookshelf.

The study, which began in 1938, meticulously tracked the lives of 268 Harvard men students from that time forward.  Collecting data at repeated intervals over 75 years about various points of interest—physical, emotional, mental, etc.—the study tracks not only what happened to its various participants as they aged, but helps to understand why things turned out the way they did.  While the study was limited to a rather privileged group of male participants (as was Harvard in those days), many of its  conclusions have application to society generally.

One of the consistent messages of SAGE’s Successful Aging initiative is that there’s no one “magic bullet” when it comes to creating a rewarding and successful life into ones 80’s and 90’s.  This too is the Study’s conclusion.  The book closes with the following:

“[W]hen it comes to healthy aging, everything really is connected to everything else. A happy old age requires both physical health and mental health. For mental health, love is a necessity. So is being alive. So is being able to think straight. We need physical and cognitive competence to build the social surrounds that give us love and support later on, and it is love and support that encourage us to care for ourselves well and keep ourselves healthy, even when the going gets rough. . . . . The ninety-year-olds of the Grant Study took good care of themselves and of their important relationships. And for the most part, they’ve been very happy to be alive."

January 21, 2015

A Conversation with Newlyweds and SAGE Tulsa Participants Ray and Eduardo

It’s never too late to celebrate love! After more than a decade together, SAGE Participants Ray Mahoney, 66, and  his partner Eduardo Saurez, who is 86, were married on October 12, 2014 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Eduardo Saurez, Serena Worthington, SAGE’s Director of National
Field Initiatives, and Ed Mahoney

Ray and Eduardo met by chance, or “destiny” as Ray says, at a local food store one day. Ray remembers being struck by how tall Eduardo was. And Eduardo was impressed by Ray too, so he asked Ray for lunch the next day, and they immediately hit it off.

They love a good road trip and have seen a lot of the country in their years together. Ray remembers traveling to see a space shuttle launch in Florida, only to have a rain storm roll in and delay the big event. They’ve also visited Memphis, where they took the Civil Rights tour and visited Graceland. Visiting Nashville is also a fond memory for Ray, who says “It’s a fun town—there’s a party going on everywhere you go!”

The idea of getting married was initially proposed by Eduardo, who says, “I had to persuade him! But I didn’t argue with him.” Once the decision was made, the ceremony was performed by Toby Jenkins, executive Director for Oklahomans for Equality. The happy couple celebrated afterward at SAGE Tulsa with friends, food, and their favorite music.

A theme emerges consistently in conversations about marriage with Ray and Eduardo: security. They both feel a sense of relief knowing that they’re now legally protected and won’t be separated if they have to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Without children or other family members nearby, they are each other’s primary safety net.

Ray’s sister Louisa has been supportive of him, but wasn’t encouraging about the wedding at first, saying “you can always back out”. Despite that, Ray and Eduardo show no signs of splitting up. When faced with marital arguments, they’ll tell you they don’t fight—Ray jokes “you don’t argue with the judge!” They tease each other, and Eduardo says they “kid around a lot, but [we] don’t insult each other.” They agree that mutual respect is the key to their success as a couple.

Eduardo is grateful for the protection of marriage, saying that “If I pass away, whatever money we have, goes to each other. I thank God that we trust each other and get along fine!”

Ray shared a portion of his wedding vows to describe his feelings about getting married, saying that “Nothing can equal having someone to be sure of, having someone to believe in, to share a good life with. At the end there are neither riches nor fame, only past remembrances of the few people we’ve shared spiritual unions with.” He added that “If you live your whole life and you find one person you can believe in and trust, you’ve done something!”

Cheers to Ray and Eduardo! May they have many more adventures together.


January 16, 2015

A Home for Our Community in the Bronx

On January 14, SAGE opened the doors to its new Center for LGBT older adults in the Bronx. With hot lunches, a cyber cafe, health and educational programs and more, SAGE Center Bronx promises to be a lively, warm and welcoming home for LGBT older adults in this historically underserved borough of New York City. 


The Bronx opening was attended by SAGE participants, staff and supporters, including New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Councilmembers Ritchie Torres, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Daniel Dromm and Annabel Palma. It was particularly exciting to celebrate with Councilmember Torres, the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, who spearheaded the effort to fund SAGE's expansion across New York City. 

 View our Flickr album for more photos of this exciting event, and read this recent New York Times article for much more about SAGE Center Bronx, and the larger SAGE Center expansion initiative, as well as comments from SAGE participants. 

Cheers to our new Bronx family! 

-- Posted by Kira Garcia

January 14, 2015

Creating Change 2015: Advancing an LGBT Agenda

Today’s post is from Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives. Follow her on Twitter.

SAGE Staff are looking forward to a robust and energizing Creating Change conference in Denver February 4-8. Creating Change, hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force, is the largest annual gathering of activists, organizers and leaders in the LGBT movement.

Cedric Harmon, Many Voices; Imani Woody, SAGE Metro DC; Serena Worthington, SAGE

This will SAGE’s 5th year hosting the Elder Institute, a day-long pre-conference session built around a theme and spotlighting LGBT older adult activists and providers working in aging. This year the theme is What’s Your Story? Passion, Elder Activism and Movement Building and features interactive group workshops, roundtables and panels. I’m particularly excited to be sharing a new round of stories from our national SAGE Story initiative and to be hosting storytellers from the long-standing group, Telling Your Story, a program of SAGE of the Rockies. These folks have been meeting weekly for four years and have built an amazing archive of personal stories about their experiences as LGBT people over 50. Other highlights of the day include: policy roundtables over lunch on key issues such as HIV and aging, marriage equality and social security, and the upcoming White House Conference on Aging; a panel of activist talking about their templates for community change; and a panel of noted experts working to build an infrastructure of safe, inclusive, affordable housing for LGBT elders in communities across the country. 

The first 50 people to RSVP for the Elder Institute will receive a $10 gift card which can be used to purchase lunch while attending the day-long institute. Please note, your RSVP is not the same as registering for the conference. Conference registration is required. 

To RSVP, visit Creating Change Elder Institute RSVP

SAGE staff are thrilled to be awarding Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues for his visionary leadership on LGBT aging and for introducing the LGBT Elder Americans Act, a bill that would increase federal supports to millions of LGBT older people through the Older Americans Act (OAA), the country’s largest vehicle for funding and delivering services to older people in the US.

Other highlights include a training by Tim Johnston, the Manger for Education and Training for the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, on Building Age Inclusive LGBT Services. Aaron Tax, our Federal Government Relations Director, will join a panel to address the question, “How can activists on the ground become a bridge to creating more supportive and equitable services and supports for our elders?”

DSC_3579AA big draw for me is the Elders 50+ and Allies Dance. Sponsored by AARP, the Saturday evening dance is consistently a huge hit, bringing folks of all ages together where the LGBTQ community has always found friendship and joy—on the dance floor.

For those of you who will be attending, I look forward to meeting and strategizing with you! Whether you will be in Denver or joining from afar, stay connected with SAGE at Creating Change by following SAGE on Twitter and finding us on Facebook!

January 6, 2015

We're Hosting a Free Webinar on Out & Visible

This fall, SAGE released Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-75. Based on groundbreaking market research on LGBT older adults, the report examines the values, needs, wants and lifestyle preferences of LGBT elders.

SAGE_OUT&VISIBLE_Meme1To illuminate the impact of this landmark report, we are proud to announce a webinar detailing notable findings and forecasting how this data will improve service provision, planning and policy reform efforts for national organizations like the AARP, Transgender Law Center, SAGE and Witeck Communications, as well as regional service providers such as SAGE Metro St. Louis.

This is also the very last chance to hear insights and observations about the report from its author, Robert Espinoza, SAGE’s Senior Director of Policy and Communications, while he is still in his current role at SAGE. He is departing to serve as Vice President of Policy at PHI National and his last day coincides with our webinar.

Friday, January 9, 2015 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm EST. To register for the webinar, please click here. The webinar ID is 119-423-395.

Moderated by Serena Worthington, SAGE's Director of National Field Initiatives, our panelists include:


  • Hop Backus, Executive Vice President, States & Communities, AARP
  • Masen Davis, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center
  • Robert Espinoza, Senior Director of Policy and Communications, SAGE
  • Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director, SAGE Metro St. Louis
  • Bob Witeck, CEO and Co-founder, Witeck Communications


To read a copy of the report, please click here. Don't have time for the full version? Check out our Executive Summary here.