18 posts categorized "Conferences"

March 27, 2015

Day 5: What a Week!

SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging's 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.

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A packed room for "Addressing Expressions of Intimacy and Sexuality in Long-Term Care"

Hilary_meyer2013I had the distinct honor this afternoon of moderating the “Addressing Intimacy and Sexuality in Long-Term Care” panel with the esteemed experts, Jon Kole from Hebrew Home at Riverdale; Dan Kuhn of All Trust Home Care; and, Lynda Markut of the Alzheimer’s Association of SouthEast Wisconsin. All three panelists contributed to sharing vital information about creating a healthy and safe environment that allows for intimacy and sexual expression in long-term care residences.

They spoke to a packed house of over 50 attendees, who had excellent questions related to assessing competency for consent, addressing bias amongst residents an how to be respectful and responsible legal guardian.

Earlier in the day, I was proud to be a part of a thought leader focus group discussion, led by our friends at the National Council on Aging and the Walmart Foundation about enhancing diverse women’s empowerment throughout their lifespans.

Stimulating and exciting conversations all day at the Aging In America 2015 conference!


Tom-WeberAnother great day at ASA, addressing dental care, boundaries, sexual health and more pet assistance for older adults.  One thing I like about ASA is that topics come up with relevance that didn’t necessarily make it to our agenda, but that we are clearly dealing with in the lives of our clients and program participants.  Many people are doing innovative projects and services in pockets around the country that can really help us.  Likewise, the LGBT community has much to share with everyone else that is relevant across the board, particularly in the areas of sex, sexuality and aging.  For instance, the workshop I attended earlier this afternoon, “Sexual Health and Functioning Across Sexual and Gender Identity Groups in Later Life,” was presented by our community partners and allies from Howard Brown in Chicago, ActionAIDS in Philadelphia and ACRIA from NYC in our own backyard.  This was just one of a series on sexual health, sexuality and the need for physical intimacy being produced throughout the day by the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) of ASA.  Our own Hilary Meyer is on a panel on entitled “Addressing Expressions of Intimacy and Sexuality in Long-Term Care” that was packed (see photo above)! It’s great to see so many people interested in these issues and looking for solutions.


TJohnston1Early yesterday morning Deborah Terry-Hays and Robin DiAngelo of Senior Services in Seattle lead a session on micro aggressions.

Micro aggressions are brief exchanges where someone who has some kind of privilege (for example, being white in the United States or identifying as heterosexual) says something hurtful toward toward a person who is a member of a marginalized or underprivileged group (for example, if you're a person of color, or a member of the LGBT community). 

Both facilitators did a great job of explaining how these comments come from structural and institutional inequality, noting, “oppression is most often invisible to the privileged group, normalized, and not consciously intentional.” Because these exchanges are part of larger social norms, micro aggressions are usually not conscious on the part of the aggressor, but can still create a hostile and invalidating climate for the target of the aggression.  

Being aware of micro aggressions and preventing them requires humility and being open to feedback. When someone takes the time, energy, and risk to point out a harmful comment, we should strive to really hear what they’re saying, rather than becoming defensive. Likewise, those of us who are often the recipient of micro aggressions need to find the resources and space that will help us remain centered and connected to supportive relationships. 

Overall, a very important topic that was extremely well presented and received. 

March 26, 2015

Day 4: Great Workshops and Progress at ASA

SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging's 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.

TJohnston1Wednesday afternoon I worked with National Resource Center Certified Trainer Doug Carl to facilitate a conversation titled Improving LGBT Inclusiveness of Aging Service Providers. We talked about different ways to bring LGBT aging training to aging service providers, including providers who may be hesitant to discuss LGBT related information.

After introductions and going over some key terms, Doug explained how he has been able to make inroads and build strong relationships with aging network service providers across the state of Georgia. He highlighted the importance of not only tapping your personal networks but also finding LGBT allies who can help advance the goal of bringing training to service providers. You never know who may identify as LGBT or have an LGBT family member, and support can come from anywhere.

The participants came from all over the country and left the session feeling energized and prepared to advocate for LGBT older adults. Personally, I’m inspired by their commitment and am sure that the resources we share through our websites (www.sageusa.org and www.lgbtagingcenter.org) can help them continue their advocacy! 


Catherine_thurstonLast night, the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) gathered for a great committee meeting. The room was packed and there was standing room only! What a long way LAIN has come since its inception! It was great to hear about our progress from last year and what the future holds for LGBT aging. I also met with Karen Fredricksen-Goldsen, the Principal Investigator behind Caring and Aging with Pride, the largest LGBT health study and the first to be funded by National Institute of Health (NIH). Karen and her team will be coming to SAGE next month to do follow-up interviews with 100-150 LGBT older adults for the next round of her study. We at SAGE are very proud that New York City’s LGBT residents were the largest proportion in the overall sample of 2,450 people, and that our inclusion in the study helped expand the diversity of the overall sample (21% of the LGBT older adults are people of color; over 300 transgender elders were interviewed). Looking forward to what today will bring at Aging in America!

 

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Standing room only at the LAIN meeting!

 

 


Tom-WeberThe last few days at ASA have been phenomenal! Not only is it a great networking opportunity (just ran into Katherine Acey from our friends at GRIOT Circle!), but it allows SAGE to bring LGBT aging to the forefront of this massive conference on aging.

Tuesday night, I attended a wonderful reception at the Center on Halsted, Chicago’s LGBT Center, by the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Aging.  They conducted tours of the new LGBT housing facility in Chicago, Town Hall, which is a collaborative project between the Center on Halsted and Heartland Housing.  It is an amazing facility in a combination new building/restored historic police station, that has about 70 residents, LGBT elder programming and a senior lunch program funded by the city of Chicago – a truly gorgeous space. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in two successful workshops.  One about Innovative Senior Centers with Catherine Thurston & Pattie Cippe Hart from the Center for Living Well in Washington Heights/Inwood, and the other about Storytelling with Serena Worthington and Kathi Boyle from the SAGE affiliate of Western Pennsylvania at Persad Center.  Both workshops were very well received and had great attendance.  "Helping Elders Tell Their Stories: Best Practices from StoryCorps and SAGE" particularly produced a really happy cohort of people as paired up matches began telling their partners parts of their own stories of their lives. Watch the room buzzing with people sharing their stories and connecting over some surprisingly shared experiences. Can’t wait to see what today brings!

March 25, 2015

Day 3: A Great Start at ASA

SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging's 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.

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Just for fun - these SAGE Staffers and friends were packed in an elevator and headed to a special tour of the Town Hall Apartments, an LGBT-inclusive senior housing facility created by Center on Halsted and Heartland Housing.
 
Catherine_thurstonI had the pleasure of being a part of a presentation yesterday at the American Society on Aging Conference entitled “Innovative Senior Centers: A Model for the Future.”  The main presenters were Tom Weber, the Director of Care Management at SAGE and Patricia Cipora Harte, the Director of the Center for Adults Living Well @ the YMYWHA of Washington Heights. More than 50 audience members attended a lively session on the history of how both centers came to exist, including SAGE’s advocacy with the New York City Department for the Aging around how “community” can be defined in a myriad of ways, not only by geography.
 
The interactive session asked the audience, who represented Senior Centers across the country to think more deeply about what innovation means to them and the communities they serve and also shared lessons learned from SAGE and the Y’s 3+ years’ operating our centers. Tom and Patricia shared videos created by their staff showcasing their programs. In the “what we learned” segment of the workshop, Patricia spoke of “change being the only constant” and the importance of knowing your community. The importance of creating a culture in which both experimentation and failure were allowable was also highlighted.


 

Hilary_meyer2013Yesterday, I had the opportunity to co-facilitate a thoughtful and engaging session with my co-worker Dr. Tim Johnston, "Maximum Impact! Finding Intersections to Make Older Lives Better." This session was moderated by the Administration on Community Living’s Greg Link, about the impact of multicultural aging intersections. A number of participants reported on exciting successful programs including such as buddy-to-buddy and senior companions, foster grandparent, and co-branded programs with other communities of colors, etc. 

The participants also reported out on challenges such as finding ways to break down the provider suggestion that “we don’t need specific population services because we serve everyone the same.”  FORGE Transgender Aging Network’s Loree Cook-Daniels shared that her organization surveyed their target populations to ask “do you know what services are available” and “ do you access them – why or why not?” so that advocates have information to show providers that evidence transgender people actually do not use their services. 

National Hispanic Council on Aging’s Dr. Yanira Cruz shared that they hosted national focus groups across the country to understand the needs of Hispanic elders, to get information that would similarly help inform local service providers as well.

Other panelists that participated in the dynamic workshops included Bob Blancato of the Elder Justice Coalition, Angie Boddie of the National Caucus and Council on Black Aging, Quyen Dinh of the SouthEast Asia Resource Action Center, Aaron Tax of SAGE, and Amy Gotwals of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.


 

TJohnston1SAGE and the Alzheimer’s Association have been working together to bring LGBT cultural competency to the Association, and Alzheimer’s awareness to SAGE and SAGENet. Yesterday afternoon at the Aging in America conference Catherine Thurston, SAGE’s Senior Director for Services and Training and Marshawn Brown, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, spoke about the importance of strategic partnerships in creating LGBT allies.

Marshawn Brown began by describing how the Alzheimer’s Association conducted a diversity needs assessment that resulted in the Association identifying LGBT people as an underserved population. While the Association was engaged in this assessment, SAGE’s strategic planning process identified Alzheimer’s as an issue area worthy of special consideration. These overlapping goals set the stage for our partnership and served as the guidelines for developing our memorandum of understanding.

No group has the time or resources to reinvent the wheel, and this partnership is a great example of how two organizations can work together to improve their services and achieve strategic goals. Catherine Thurston noted that while SAGE is growing quickly, we “cannot do all and be all” which means that “creating partnerships is key to making sure that there is no wrong door for LGBT older people to walk through when seeking services.” Partnering with SAGE allows organizations to demonstrate their commitment to LGBT inclusivity and create a strong network of allies, helping to build an aging network that affirms LGBT older adults and caregivers.

Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association is well underway and already building bridges between LGBT and Alzheimer’s advocates and support services. We hope that this strategic partnership can serve as a model for other LGBT and aging service providers. ​

March 24, 2015

Day 2: SAGE at AIA

SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging's 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.

TJohnston1As the Manager of Education and Training for SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging I’m lucky to work with an incredible group of Certified Trainers located all across the country. Because our trainers live from southern California all the way to Maine, the ASA conference is an opportunity for us to meet in person and share our successes and upcoming goals for the next year. These informal conversations allow us to swap training stories, share strategies to improve our trainings, and discuss upcoming training needs.

Our trainers are also leading a number of workshops at the conference. Loree Cook-Daniels is part of a session called Changing in the Blink of an Eye: Public Policy Affecting Transgender Elders Deborah, Deborah Terry-Hays is discussing Micro-Aggressions, and I’ll be presenting with Doug Carl on Improving LGBT Inclusiveness Through Aging Service Providers, just to name a few!

If you see one of us around the conference, please come and say hello. We'd love to tell you more about our suite of trainings and hear how your organizations are working to help LGBT older adults. 

SerenaHere’s a shopping tip from a local. There is a fantastic grocery store tucked away near the conference hotel—the Hyatt Regency Chicago—called Mariano’s. They have great quick serve, a gelato/coffee bar, a robust gluten-free section and competitive prices (especially for the neighborhood). An interesting amenity is that you can select any item in the store and they'll grill if for you for free. Grab me a latte when you’re there! You can track me down via Twitter with my handle @SerenaWorthy. I'm also sharing my map of "Fun and Cheap Things to Do Next to the Conference Hotel." Check it out and let me know what you think via Twitter!

 

March 23, 2015

Day 1: Hello Snowy Chicago!

SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging's 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.

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Tom Weber, SAGE's Director of Care Management Services

Woke up this morning to a very blustery, wintery, snowy day in Chicago.  I was fortunate because I arrived yesterday, but almost everyone coming in today was having problems and delays, and some people are not able to get here until tomorrow, including Kathi Boyle from SAGE of Western Pennsylvania, whom Serena Worthington and I are presenting with on Wednesday.  One of the presenters coming in from DC for the session I just attended came in the middle because he couldn’t get here sooner.  The session was called “Aging in Community with Pets: Insights, Innovations and Advance Planning.” 

The problem of pets and helping people take care of them is a problem we have come across many times amongst our clients at SAGE, particularly when someone has to go into a hospital or move out of their apartment and into a facility.  Sometimes people refuse medical help because they don’t want to leave their pets or they spend the little money they have on their pet needs and neglect their own needs to nutrition and medical care. 

I heard about several innovative programs in this session, including Meals on Wheels delivering pet food along with meals so people don’t feed their animals the food meant for them, and an Adult Protective Services Program (APS) in Texas getting a grant to help them help the pets of the people they work with, like boarding, grooming and vet bills.  There were also suggestions for what to do during an emergency and specific caregiving and life care planning for people with pets.  We will look into the possibility of maybe replicating some similar programs for our clients at SAGE.

This is what Chicago looked like this morning. 

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Photo by instagram.com/oppressjunket

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Michael Adams, SAGE's Executive Director

I arrived in Chicago early last night for the American Society on Aging Board Meeting.  It’s been an honor to serve on the ASA Board with amazing colleagues – including Yanira Cruz of the National Hispanic Council on Aging and Karyne Jones of the National Caucus & Center on Black Aged –since 2012.  As ASA prepares to launch a new Strategic Plan, it’s exciting to see all of the great opportunities for advancing our collective work to strengthen the quality of life for older adults across the U.S.  As the next step in that direction, Aging in America 2015 is going to be a dynamic few days! We’re not going to let the (unpredicted) snowstorm  here in Chicago get in our way!

 

 

SAGE Brings LGBT & HIV Aging to the 2015 Aging in America Conference

Today’s post is from Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives. Keep up with her conference activities @SerenaWorthy.

Today marks the start of American Society on Aging’s 2015 Aging in America Conference, the nation’s largest aging conference where “Over 2,500 attendees…learn, network and participate in the largest multidisciplinary conference covering issues of aging and quality of life for older adults!”

As a Chicagoan, I’m looking forward to welcoming my colleagues—who are more like frolleagues really (friend + colleague) —to my snowy city. What we lack in spring warmth, we’ll make up for in Midwestern friendliness and excellent food!

ASASelfieBetween now and Friday, SAGE staff members will be involved in 12 conference programs related to LGBT aging including: six 60 minute workshops, three 90 minute workshops, a collaborating program, a symposium, and a national forum.

HIGHLIGHTS

In an exciting departure from the traditional panel workshop format, SAGE National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is hosting Maximum Impact! Finding Intersections to Make Older Lives Better. This three hour session will feature a highly interactive format with roundtables, presentations and small group breakouts. A group of experts from national organizations that make up one of the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging’s technical assistance resource centers will discuss their challenges and victories in multicultural aging policy advocacy and services provision and the audience will interact with the experts to discuss what is most needed now and what organizations could be doing in the future.

Another highlight is Friday’s National Forum: Social and Health Disparities in Aging. This half day forum will address how the Affordable Health Care Act’s mandates for delivering improved health outcomes “do not take into account for social and health disparities that exist within a community.” Presenters will explore Perspectives from Gender and Sexual Orientation and Perspectives from the African-American, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Communities, SAGE’s Executive Director, Michael Adams— along with a remarkable slate of panelists—will demonstrate the Need for an Integrated Policy, Research and Programs Response.

I’m looking forward to seeing my dear frolleagues from across the country and to my three workshops—

Helping Elders Tell Their Stories: Best Practices From StoryCorps and SAGEwith my co-workerTom Weber, Director of Community Services and SAGE Western Pennsylvania’s Kathi Boyle.

Multiculturalism in Aging: Chicago Perspectivewith Karen Lowe Graham, Manager of Community Programs, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center; Winnie Lam, Home and Community Based Services Officer, Chinese American Service League; Maria Oquendo-Scharneck, Health and Diversity Coordinator, AgeOptions; and Marta Pereyra, Executive Director, Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly.

Pioneering Inclusive Housing for Diverse Elders with Meghan Jackson, Senior Service Manager, Center on Halsted and Kathleen Sullivan, Seniors Services Director, Los Angeles LGBT Center

For a list of all of the sessions related to LGBT aging, check out this excellent guide compiled by ASA.

For updates from ASA, check out their Facebook page and follow them @asaging or using #AiA15.

To keep track of SAGE Staff, check us out on Twitter.

SAGE @sageusa
National Resource Center on LGBT @lgbtagingcntr
Michael Adams @Adams_SAGEUSA
Serena Worthington @SerenaWorthy

February 18, 2015

Taking our Housing Initiative to The White House

As the number of Americans age 65 and older surges over the next few decades, the number of LGBT older adults is estimated to double to 3 million by 2030. By this year – 2015 – one in two individuals who are HIV positive in this country will be over age 50.  Many struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing. 

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the White House, SAGE, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) hosted the National LGBT Elder Housing Summit.

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(L-R) Kathy Greenlee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Aging, Michael Adams, Executive Director, SAGE and Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging

We looked at the National LGBT Elder Housing Summit as a unique opportunity for the White House to bring together the LGBT community and the aging network to discuss the challenges communities across the country have faced in providing affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to LGBT older adults and older adults with HIV.  The summit also provided an opportunity to hear from panelists from Washington and across the nation to see how they have successfully begun to meet those challenges.  And together, with an eye towards the future, we explored how federal housing policy and those at the state and local level can shape how we address these challenges in the years to come.

The day included a number of panels, with participation by experts from across the country, including panels entitled:

  • Overview of the Housing Needs of LGBT Elders and the Importance of Training Providers
  • Building Housing - LGBT Older Adult Community Housing
  • Educating Consumers on the Legal Landscape Regarding Housing Rights for LGBT Older Adults. How to Find—and Advocate for—LGBT-Friendly Housing in all its Forms
  • Expanding Services - Best Practices in Services and Programs that Support LGBT Older People with their Housing Challenges
  • Changing Policy – Creating Housing, Financial Security, and an Inclusive Safety Net

We had the pleasure of hearing Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor on Housing and Services, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, deliver a keynote address on HUD’s interest in providing welcoming and affordable housing.

And we had the opportunity to host a White House Conference on Aging Listening Session, conducted by Kathy Greenlee, Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, and Nora Super, Executive Director, White House Conference on Aging.  LGBT older adults and advocates shared their vision of a successful White House Conference on Aging directly with Administrator Greenlee and Executive Director Super.

In sum, the day provided a unique opportunity for advocates to share their thoughts with policy makers, and for policy makers to share their latest thoughts with individuals both personally and professionally invested in improving the housing security of LGBT older adults.

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.

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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!

November 6, 2014

People at Out & Equal are talking about Out & Visible!

People are talking about Out & Visible! Our new study of the fears, beliefs, behaviors and aspirations of LGBT older adults offers important--and startling--statistics that have long been missing from our conversations about LGBT aging. At the Out & Equal conference in San Francisco yesterday, a panel of representatives from major financial and consumer companies weighed in on how the report can help them better serve our communities. We're excited to share the findings of this study with new audiences across the country, and to hear their responses.

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For example, Out & Visible found that LGBT older people are far more concerned than non-LGBT older people about their financial security and retirement. 42% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned that they'll outlive their retirement savings, as compared to 25% of non-LGBT people.  A panelist from Prudential, Josh Stoffregen, remarked that "Being able to better understand the unique needs and challenges the older LGBT population is facing helps us as we continue to learn more about all aspects of our community.  We're pleased that SAGE is shedding light on this important topic."

Despite our years of recent progress, LGBT people still struggle with disproportionate barriers to health and happiness. Out & Visible provides many insights which reveal the extent of these issues and the work that's still necessary to create longer, healthier lives for LGBT older adults.

--Posted by Kira Garcia

October 24, 2014

The Disease That Defined My Generation

Perry Halkitis Photo1SAGE is honored to have Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.P.H., Professor of Applied Psychology, Public Health and Population Health, NYU, as our keynote speaker for this year’s annual SAGENet affiliate meeting. Dr. Halkitis will be talking about Survival and Resilience: How the Experiences of Long Term Survivors Inform the Delivery of Care for Adults Aging with HIV. His post below was originally featured on The Huffington Post on September 25, 2014.

PBS recently aired a documentary, The Boomer List, examining the life stories and experiences of those born in the United Sates between 1946 and 1964. According to these parameters, I too am a baby boomer having been born in 1963. But despite this chronological reality, I have never felt any particular kinship or connection with the baby boomer generation, a sense that was validated as I listened to the interviews of most of those who were depicted in the documentary.

The ideas of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe provide ample explanation for why I feel the way that I do. Beginning with their seminal work Generations, Strauss and Howe postulated a framework for delineating generations that has less to do with historical intervals defined by years than by the shared sensibilities. In their view, a generation shares age location in history. Those who constitute a generation experience significant historical events, social trends, and other phenomena while in similar developmental period of their lives. Because of these experiences, members of a generation are shaped throughout the course of their lives by these elements that they encounter during their childhoods an/or emerging and young adulthoods. In this perspective, I am a member of Generation X and not a baby boomer. That seems right to me.

But my point has less to do with my being a baby boomer or member of Gen X than it does with me being a member of another generation -- the AIDS Generation. For those of us who came or were coming of age during the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, our experiences were shaped by this epidemic that was devastating our country and taking countless lives. All of us who came of age at the time are members of the AIDS Generation -- men and women, gay and straight, HIV-positive and HIV-negative. Whether we experienced the epidemic front and center in cities such as New York or Los Angeles or whether we watched it from afar in news accounts in our small hometowns, this disease defined our formative years and is forever embedded in our consciousness.

I explore these ideas in my book, The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, in which I document the life experience of 15 gay men who are long-term survivors of the epidemic. For gay men of my generation, in particular, this disease has left its inedible mark and has defined our lives for the last three decades. In the book I write:

Many of my generation entered our teens and young adulthood in this historical period of the 1970s and 1980s with a sense of confidence and zeal due to the efforts of our predecessors, the Stonewall generation--who spent years hiding their identity--demanding their rights and easing the path for us. We had also the energy of the civil rights and women's rights movements to support us. This is not to say that we came into our own with ease and without fear. Many of us still remained in our closet throughout our high school years for fear of being found out to be a faggot. Still, the promise for sexual freedom and sexual expression existed within our grasp. Little were we to know that we would become the AIDS Generation, and that within a decade this deadly disease would destroy our physical, emotional, and social lives. I know this because I am part of the AIDS Generation (p.5)

Some 33 years after the initial diagnosis of HIV in the United Sates and with hundreds of thousands deaths of gay men in the last three decades, the disease that defined my generation continues to afflict us. In 2010, 72 percent of all new HIV infections were among gay and bisexual men, and those entering their formative years nowadays continue to do battle with this disease. It is true that some conditions in the lives of gay men have improved in the last three decades. We now have effective treatments to fight HIV infection, the use of an HIV antiviral in the form of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provides us with another powerful tool in our arsenal to prevent the disease from spreading, and historic legislation enacted over the last several years has enhanced our civil rights and protections. Be that as it may, this disease continues to haunt us and negatively impact our lives.

On September 27th as we acknowledge the National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is time for all of us to take stock and band together socially, politically, and emotionally to demand an end to the AIDS epidemic -- an idea espoused by progressive leaders such as New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo.

I am a member of the AIDS Generation. And unless we continue to fight this disease on all fronts and enhance and protect the health of gay men, my generation is only the first of many generations of gay men who will continue to battle this despicable disease.

Follow Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.P.H. on Twitter:www.twitter.com/DrPNHalkitis