24 posts categorized "Elders of Color"

July 12, 2013

A New Documentary on LGBT Aging

BeforeYouKnowIt-460x460Near the end of June, SAGE had the pleasure of screening the film, Before You Know It, at The SAGE Center, just a few days after its New York City premiere at Lincoln Center. This moving documentary follows three older gay men from different parts of the country, painting portraits of three very different lives.  The film’s Facebook page describes its subjects this way:

“Born before the Civil Rights era, these men have witnessed unbelievable change in their lifetimes, from the Stonewall Riots and gay liberation, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and Queer Nation, to gay marriage and Lady Gaga, and have lived to become part of an unprecedented ‘out’ elder generation. BEFORE focuses on the lives of these three gay seniors, but reminds us that while LGBT elders face a specific set of issues, aging and its challenges are universal. An affirmation of life and human resilience told with a refreshing humor and candor, BEFORE confirms that you are never too old to reshape society.”

Before You Know It holds a special place in SAGE’s heart, because one of the three men starring in the movie is SAGE’s very own Ty Martin, Harlem Community Liaison at SAGE Harlem in New York City. Over the course of a couple of years, the film’s director & producer PJ Raval and producer Sara Giustini, along with their film crew, spent quite a bit of time with Ty, constituents of SAGE Harlem, and in the Harlem LGBT community. What emerges is a story of an incredibly warm and supportive community, joyfully celebrating advances for LGBT equality while acknowledging the difficulties and struggles of being gay, older and African American.

PJ, Sara and their crew took incredible care with Ty’s story, and presumably took the same care with the stories of the film’s other two protagonists, Robert and Dennis. Robert is from Galveston, Texas, where he owns the state’s oldest gay bar. Dennis splits his time between Florida and Portland; a widower in his 70s, he has only just started to explore his sexual identity. Together, these three men’s experiences weave a picture of strength, resilience, and the importance of being surrounded by friends and peers who understand and support each other. The film also provides a window into the diverse lives of LGBT older adults, busting through common ageist stereotypes and showing viewers that there is no singular “LGBT elder story.”

Visit the official site of Before You Know It to view the trailer. Before You Know It will be screened next in Los Angeles at OutFest, on July 14. Other screenings in July include Philadelphia, Dallas, Galveston, and Denver. If you’re in one of these cities, get your tickets now and see this film!

June 27, 2013

Addressing the Needs of LGBT Hispanic Older Adults in the U.S

In reconition of National HIV Testing Day and the efforts of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) to raise awareness of this event, SAGE is reposting this Diverse Elders Coalition blog post from NHCOA's President and CEO, Dr. Yanira Cruz. At 2:00 PM EST on June 27, 2013, NHCOA will be hosting their first Twitter chat on HIV testing, awareness and the Hispanic older adult community. Join them by following @NHCOA and use #NHTDiverse to ask/answer questions.


With the rapid growth of our diverse population, our country is becoming more beautiful than ever. But unfortunately, there are still some groups that are not well understood by the nation’s service providers, or by local, state and federal governments. One of those groups is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) older adults. And in order to better understand the reality of this diverse community, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) conducted an analysis through a literature review, focus groups (one was held at The SAGE Center; SAGE is fellow member organization of the Diverse Elders Coalition) and in-depth interviews with LGBT Hispanic older adults, including the service providers who work with them.

We have found that Hispanic LGBT older adults face challenges in the areas of economic security and health, often times because of the lack of research on the needs and perspectives of this population. This can be reversed if there is more knowledge on the specific health issues impacting Hispanic LGBT older adults and if policies are tailored to help Hispanic LGBT older adults achieve economic security. For example, policy makers can repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to allow Social Security to provide full spousal, survivor, and funeral benefits to married same-sex couples.

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Continue reading "Addressing the Needs of LGBT Hispanic Older Adults in the U.S" »

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.”" »

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" »

May 6, 2013

StoryCorps: A Transgender Woman’s Journey from Hiding to “Walking in Love”

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Alexis Martinez (left) and her daughter Lesley
Alexis Martinez grew up in a rough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side in the early 1960s. She knew she was transgender from an early age.

Alexis (whose birth name is Arthur) struggled with her identity, as did her family. At 13, she came out as transgender to her mother. Alexis’ mother called the police, who laughed and told her, “You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it.”

As a result, Alexis joined a gang and “went as macho as [she] could be, to mask what [she] really was underneath.” 

Alexis has a daughter, who accepts her for who she is. Says her daughter Lesley: "You don't have to apologize. You don't have to tiptoe. We're not going to cut you off. And that is something that I've always wanted you to, you know, just know—that you're loved."

Continue reading "StoryCorps: A Transgender Woman’s Journey from Hiding to “Walking in Love”" »

April 19, 2013

Marriage Equality: Finding Each Other & Acceptance

Dr. Imani Woody and Andrea Macko were married in 2010 and are staunch supporters and advocates for LGBT older adults in Washington, D.C. and beyond! Listen to their SAGE Story podcast and learn how they met, got involved and eventually received acceptance from their family.

Can’t play the podcast here? Go to SAGE’s Podomatic page to hear it.

Dr. Imani Woody was recently featured in The Washington Blade for her panel appearance entitled "Aging with Pride" and is the head of our SAGENet D.C. Affiliate. Both women are involved in Mary's House—a residential facility committed to providing LGBT friendly, safe and affordable housing.

April 17, 2013

Health Equity for LGBT Older People of Color

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Screenshot of SAGE's new policy report

This is a guest post by Robert Espinoza, SAGE's Senior Director for Public Policy and Communications. April is National Minority Health Month and in today's post, Robert writes about the health disparities faced by LGBT older people of color and the release of SAGE's new policy report "Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color.” The report can be downloaded here.

This post was originally featured on the Huffington Post, and can also be seen on the Diverse Elders Coalition’s website


Helena Bushong is 60, transgender and living with HIV/AIDS. In 2002, she was dually diagnosed with HIV and AIDS and given six months to live. Ty Martin is an aging advocate who leads a support group for older gay black men with HIV/AIDS in the historic Harlem neighborhood of New York City. His group members grapple with stigma, the questions related to accelerated aging as HIV-positive people, and a general longing for community. Both Helena and Ty are LGBT and people of color. And both of them combat the health disparities and socio-economic challenges associated with aging as people who are marginalized on multiple fronts—a reality rarely discussed in the mainstream aging field or in the popular LGBT rights movement. The virtual silence on this subject lives out in their personal and political lifespans. 

Continue reading "Health Equity for LGBT Older People of Color" »

March 18, 2013

Diverse Elders Coalition Blog Re-launches!

Meme1The Diverse Elders Coalition is made up of five national organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for this country’s diverse aging communities.

Together, we represent a growing majority of millions of older people throughout the country—racially and ethnically diverse older adults; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults; and poor and low-income older adults. We have come together to promote policy changes and programmatic solutions that respond to this demographic shift and will remove the barriers facing our communities. We envision a world where all older adults can live full and active lives as they age.

Read about the re-launch here.

March 8, 2013

Helena Bushong: "I am a 60-Year-Old Trans Female Living with HIV" (Women's History Month Feature)

 

Helena Bushong
Helena Bushong
March is Women’s History Month and in honor, the SAGE Blog will feature relevant LGBT aging stories every Friday. The first post of the series is a guest blog post by Helena Bushong, a 60-year-old trans woman who lives with HIV. This post originally appeared on the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging’s website.

 

My name is Helena and I am a 60-year-old transgender female living with HIV. I am not a victim. An HIV/AIDS diagnosis is NOT a death sentence, but is similar to living with breast cancer or diabetes, which through some lifestyle changes, are manageable diseases.

I was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in 2002, and was told I would not live more than six months, and at best, a year. Along with my doctors, I believe that I was a "late tester," meaning because I was diagnosed with AIDS—a late stage infection—and not HIV, I likely contracted HIV 15 to 20 years before showing any sign or symptoms. Because people can carry HIV/AIDS asymptomatically, it is important to be tested on a regular basis to avoid a late test and spreading the disease.

Continue reading "Helena Bushong: "I am a 60-Year-Old Trans Female Living with HIV" (Women's History Month Feature)" »

February 28, 2013

The Struggle of Her Life: Finding the Strength to Recover from a Stroke

FrancesIn honor of Black History Month, the SAGE Blog featured a post on LGBT aging in the black community every Thursday during the month of February. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read the other posts. Women’s History Month begins next week and similarly, the SAGE Blog will feature a post on LGBT older women every Friday during the month of March. Today’s post is in honor of both Black History Month and Women’s History Month. 

Frances Gordon is a health fanatic, who prides herself on doing Zumba, lifting weights and eating well. And all at age 72!

But in 2012, Ms. Gordon began to overheat during a workout and had to be rushed to the emergency room. She was shocked to discover that she suffered a stroke (an element of cardiovascular disease).

Continue reading "The Struggle of Her Life: Finding the Strength to Recover from a Stroke" »