9 posts categorized "Conferences"

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                    

October 21, 2014

Tulsa Two Spirit Society Leader, John Hawk Co-Cke’, to present at SAGENet Annual Meeting

Wakomontanasideprofilecroppedpic2011We are thrilled to announce that John Hawk Co-Cke’ will provide an introduction to Two Spirit People at our upcoming annual meeting of SAGENet Leaders at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma—home of Oklahomans for Equality.

SAGENet affiliates provide services and programs to LGBT older people in their local communities and they also work on city and state advocacy to ensure that public policies better support the needs of LGBT elders. This 2-day training and networking event bringing together established and emerging leaders from SAGENet affiliates to exchange ideas about LGBT aging programs and to discuss how federal policy affects their local work.

The Two Spirit People by John Hawk Co-Cke’ with information provided from “The Spirit and the Flesh” by Walter L. Williams

Native Americans have often held intersex, androgynous people, feminine males and masculine females in high respect. The most common term to define such persons today is to refer to them as “Two-Spirit” people, but in the past feminine males were sometimes referred to as “berdache” by early French explorers in North America, who adapted a Persian word “bardaj”, meaning an intimate male friend.

Native Americans focused on their spiritual gifts. American Indian traditionalists, even today tend to see a person’s character as a reflection of their spirit. Since everything that exists is thought to come from the spirit world, androgynous or transgender persons are seen as doubly blessed, having both the spirit of a man and the spirit of a woman. Thus they are honored for having two spirits, and are seen as more spiritually gifted than the typical masculine male or feminine female.

Therefore, many Native American religions, rather than stigmatizing such persons, often looked to them as religious leaders and teachers. The Two Spirited persons were also Name Givers, Healers, fortune tellers, Sexual teachers, master craftsman, powerful warriors, and considered a Gift from the Creator.

Because of this tradition of respect, in the 90’s many gay and Lesbian Native American Activists in the United States and Canada rejected the French word berdache in favor of the term Two-Spirit people to describe themselves. Many non-American Indians have incorporated knowledge of Native American Two Spirit traditions into their increasing acceptance of same-sex love, androgyny and transgender diversity. Native American same-sex marriages have been used as a model for legalizing same-sex marriages and the spiritual gifts of androgynous persons have started to become more recognized.

John Hawk Co-Cke’ is an HIV Prevention Specialist with the Muscogee-Creek TCE/HIV Project. He is a Certified Anger Management Specialist and Leader of the Tulsa Two-Spirit Society. He recently became an ordained minister because, as he says, “We’re going to be having a lot of gay marriages coming up in Oklahoma!!” He is a member of the Osage and Peoria Tribes of Oklahoma and is of Creek Nation heritage.                  

 

March 11, 2014

NRC to Accept Award at ASA Conference!

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We are pleased to announce that SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging’s training program is being honored for the second time this month with another nationally recognized award for excellence! Today, at the American Society on Aging’s national conference, Aging in America, SAGE will be accepting the Gloria Cavanaugh Award for Excellence in Training and Education. This annual award is given to a training program that shows significant and long-term contributions to the field of aging, and demonstrates exemplary training and educational efforts.

Since the inaugural training in 2011, through a national network of expert certified trainers, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has been providing training for service providers on how to provide culturally competent care to LGBT older adults. To date, we have trained over 3,640 people, at hundreds of agencies, in over 30 states across the country with measurable results. Take a look at what people are saying about the strength of the trainings and request a training yourself!

March 10, 2014

SAGE Brings LGBT Aging to the 2014 Aging in America Conference

SerenaToday’s post is from Serena Worthington, Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity-Building. Follow her on Twitter.

It’s time once again for the American Society on Aging’s 2014 Aging in America Conference, which begins tomorrow in lovely San Diego! After a winter of weather extremes, I am guessing that many of the attendees are looking forward to thawing out. As a Chicagoan at the tail end of our third coldest winter in history, I am grateful to the conference organizers for their choice of a temperate Southern California location. Good job guys!

Hosted by the American Society on Aging (ASA), Aging in America is the nation’s largest aging conference with 2,500 professional presenting over 500 workshops over five days. For updates from ASA, check out their Facebook page and follow them @asaging. Congratulations to ASA on their 60th anniversary of “supporting the commitment and enhancing the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families.”

Between now and March 15th, SAGE staff members are involved in 14 of the more than 41 conference workshops, poster sessions, and peer sessions related to LGBT issues, HIV and aging, policy, and sexuality. For a list of all of the sessions on these topics, check out this handy dandy guide complied by ASA.

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January 30, 2014

SAGE at Creating Change

614px-Texas_flag_map.svgSAGE has landed in Houston! This year's Creating Change in the Lone Star State is proving a welcome change in weather for SAGE staffers from New York, Chicago and D.C. and ready to present on a variety of topics. For a full listing, including descriptions, download our schedule.

One of our major events will be presenting our Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to Stu Maddux, the award winning producer and director of independent documentaries about LGBTQ and LGBTQ history, including the remarkable and massively influential Gen Silent—which chronicles the lives of six LGBT elders as they navigate aging, caregiving, terminal illness, and loss.

Another highlight is the SAGE National Resource Center on LGBT Aging offering it's premier training on LGBT aging and cultural competency to Creating Change attendees. SAGE will also be conducting workshops on paid leave, the Affordable Care Act, advocacy work and more.

Of course, SAGE (and most of Creating Change goers) loves to participate in the "LGBT Elders 50+ and Allies Dance." Co-sponsored by The Task Force, this dance is a great chance for young and older to mingle, dance and party the night away! DJ Houston Sun will be spinning Saturday night from 9PM to midnight and we can't wait to see you there! Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the conference and if you're there, use #lgbtaging as a hashtag to connect with us.

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January 22, 2014

Stu Maddux to Receive the SAGE Advocacy Award at Creating Change 2014

StuSAGE is pleased to announce that the 2014 recipient of our annual SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues is Stu Maddux, the award winning producer and director of independent documentaries about LGBTQ and LGBTQ history, including the remarkable and massively influential Gen Silent—which chronicles the lives of six LGBT elders as they navigate aging, caregiving, terminal illness, and loss.

In the last few decades, documentaries have had a profound impact on shifting public opinion, on raising awareness about important-though-neglected social issues, and on propelling forward a justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. But in the context of LGBT aging, no film has had a more profound impact on bringing to light the struggles of LGBT older people in the long-term care system than the documentary, Gen Silent. The award-winning documentary follows the lives of six LGBT elders in Boston—a beautiful though heart-wrenching film journey—yet its broader gift has been to animate a grassroots movement in support of LGBT elders, inspiring activists of all ages, all along the way.

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August 21, 2013

Victories Large and Small: Five Years of Program Wins for LGBT Older Adults

Today’s post is from Catherine Thurston, Senior Director for Programs at SAGE.

SageMatters_summer2013This past June, the LGBT community across the country (and around the world) celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the days following the decision, I heard many SAGE constituents say that this was as seminal a moment for the LGBT civil rights movement as the Stonewall Riots 45 years ago—and that they felt privileged to have witnessed both events. There is no doubt that this is true, and we at SAGE celebrated that victory joyously, especially because we have a long and deep relationship with the wonderful Edie Windsor. Yet as I thought about what SAGE has accomplished in these last five years, I realized that for the LGBT older adults we engage, SAGE has led victories that, while not as publicized, have been life-changing all the same. Here are four areas where LGBT older adults have seen—and helped make—significant  changes in their lives and in their systems of support:

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April 15, 2013

American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference

The following is a guest post by Serena Worthington, Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity-Building at SAGE.

I am looking forward to presenting at the American Planning Association’s (APA) National Planning Conference in Chicago tomorrow. Because what I know about urban planning I learned from Bette Midler on Charlie Rose (I was surprised as anyone to learn that Ms. Midler has a deep passion for urban planning), I had to ask, “What is planning?”

According to the APA website, “Planning, also called urban planning or city and regional planning, is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.”

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March 11, 2013

SAGE Brings LGBT Aging to the 2013 Aging in America Conference

Today’s post is from Serena Worthington, Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity-Building. Follow her on Twitter.

Serena Picture One of my favorite conferences of the year, the American Society on Aging’s 2013 Aging in America Conference, starts tomorrow in my home city—Chicago! Aging in America—or as it is often casually referred to by attendees, ASA—is the nation’s largest aging conference. According to their Facebook page (get on over and friend them!) “over 3,000 professionals in the fields of aging, health care and education will gather to hear from experts, collaborate with colleagues, and share best practices and innovations.”

The conference runs from March 12-16, and this year, SAGE staff are involved in 14 of the more than 41 workshops and poster sessions related to LGBT issues, HIV and aging, and sexuality. Our friends at ASA put together a handy-dandy guide, LGBT, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS and Aging Sessions, to all things LGBT at the conference. It’s awesome!

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