February 13, 2014

Hot in Miami

Since the SAGE offices in New York City are suffering from Winter Storm Pax, we're reliving our SAGE & Friends event that was held in Miami, Florida on January 31st! 


SAGE & Friends
was SAGE's first ticketed event outside of New York City and held in conjunction with our triannual national board meeting. Over 100 supporters came together to kick off and celebrate the New Year and mixed and mingled with the board of directors and Executive Director Michael Adams while enjoying cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and Miami pianist Sam Garner.  SAGE & Friends was a huge success for the organization as SAGE spread our message on LGBT aging to new supporters and friends.

February 11, 2014

Four Amazing Women of Color Share Their Stories

In honor of February being African American History Month, SAGE will be highlighting our diverse programs, constituents and stories relevant to black aging. Check back for featured stories every Tuesday, with additional posts throughout the month.

Our stories connect us and allow us to share common bonds through the use of words, pictures, music and video. Today, we would like to share stories from four African American women from around the country. Each of their voices and stories are different, but all share the desire for recognition and hope for the future. If you have a story to share, please tell us by visiting our SAGE Story portal on the SAGE website.

Cheryl & Elizabeth, SAGE Wilmington of the Cape Fear Coast, North Carolina
The two tell us about how despite growing up in faith-based traditions that did not affirm their being lesbians, they somehow met at church. They explain how their faith joined them together and how 10 years later, they are still together and still in church and are accepted in their community!


FrancesFrances, SAGE Harlem, New York City
Frances, 72, is a lover of Zumba and food! She shares her experience of having a stroke and how her lover of 20 years was so supportive and caring of her in the hospital. She wants women to know that they have the power and strength to get better after a debilitating situation such as herself. Listen to her story, recorded in 2013 for SAGE Story, below.

 


Helena Bushong2Helena, SAGE Center on Halsted, Chicago
Helena, a transgender older adult diagnosed with HIV, shares her powerful story in a wonderful essay. She writes, "the most important thing I learned in accepting myself as transgender and also living with HIV/AIDS was about stigma.  I realized that my fear of disclosing my HIV/AIDS status was extremely unhealthy and only contributed to my loneliness and isolation, and would cause me to indeed die faster." Read an excerpt below and the whole story here.

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.

Read her whole story here.

February 7, 2014

Fighting HIV/AIDS: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Badge-national-black-hiv-awarenessWhile we honor our heroes and LGBT constituents for Black History Month with a series of events and future online profiles, we must also recognize the impact that HIV/AIDS has on the African American community. Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and if you don't think that's a big deal, check out the stats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) fast facts:

  • African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.
  • The rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites based on population size.
  • Gay and bisexual men account for most new infections among African Americans; young gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 are the most affected of this group.

SnapshotHIVAIDS

Ten-Things-Every-LGBT-Older-Adult-Should-Know-About-HIV-and-AIDS-1These statistics don't take into account the issues facing LGBT older adults and HIV/AIDS. For example, older adults are often not tested for HIV because of providers' misconceptions that they are no longer sexually active.  Research also shows that by 2015, one in two people with HIV/AIDS will be age 50 and older. Overall, the rates of HIV/AIDS among older adults 50+ have increased more than 61 percent from 2001 to 2007. Interested in learning more? Check out our Ten Things Every LGBT Older Adult Should Know About HIV and AIDS. You can also read about how "HIV/AIDS is Still an Issue for Older Gay Black Men" and words from Helena Bushong: "I am a 60-Year-Old Trans Female Living with HIV."

As part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we urge people to spread the word and to get tested. To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit the National HIV and STD Testing Resources page, or text your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948). You can also use one of the two FDA-approved home testing kits available in drugstores or online.

February 4, 2014

SAGE Celebrates Black History Month

February, in addition to being LGBT History Month in the U.K., is African American History Month. SAGE will be celebrating with a variety of programs designed by The SAGE Center and our SAGE Harlem teams. We will also be highlighting the stories of our SAGE members from around the country in the next few weeks, so be sure to bookmark the SAGE Blog and visit often!

Patricia_fraserThe following post was written by Patricia Fraser-Morales, SAGE Harlem Program Assistant.

SAGE Harlem is working on some exciting offerings to commemorate Black History Month. Our staff and volunteers have created an art exhibition on the walls of the Harlem Center to showcase the diverse talents of our constituents. This begins an initiative we hope to continue all year long, with revolving art pieces and poetry selections to illustrate our chosen theme: “Life in Harlem.”

 To keep consistent with the arts theme, SAGE Harlem is collaborating this month with the Romare Bearden Foundation, located on the second floor of the historic Hotel Theresa Building.  We will be offering small group tours of the Bearden archive, which features art pieces, writings, and other memorabilia of the famous artist. 

More Black History Month Events:

All of SAGE has been invited to attend a special afternoon screening of The New Black at the Film Forum. The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. SAGE is planning to have a Q&A with the creators of the film at a later date.

SAGE Harlem is offering multiple screenings of the classic Paris is Burning at the Harlem Center.  On February 18, there will be a presentation on the history of the ballroom scene given by scholar/activist Michael Roberson, who is the Father of the House of Garcon.

Harlem Nights_piece by Harlem Constituent Frances Gordon
Harlem Nights, painted by SAGE Harlem Constituent, Francis Gordon

Our regular programming for the month includes all support groups and activities:

  • Women’s 40+ Support Group on Friday, February 7
  • Latino Men’s Group on Tuesday, February 11
  • Men’s 50+ Support on Friday, February 14
  • Grief Group on Saturdays, February 8 & 15
  • New Beginnings every Tuesday afternoon
  • AA Meditation every Monday night
  • Spirituality Group on the 2nd and 4th Mondays
  • Buddy to Buddy on Thursday, February 20

The H.E.A.T. Meeting and Social Hour on Friday, February 21st, and Fabulous Friday on Friday, February 28th round out the month-long celebrations.  Please “like” us on Facebook, and check out the website for more information on dates, times and more offerings.

 

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 29, 2014

NYC LGBT seniors compete in virtual bowling tournaments with Microsoft Xbox

This blog post by Daniel Hubbell, was originally featured on the Microsoft Accessibility Blog. Read the original post here.

Barbara Police, 64, loved bowling since she was a kid. After she lost her sight 14 years ago, she was able to continue playing at a specially constructed bowling alley for people with visual impairments.  But several years ago, a shoulder injury made it too painful for her to lift and throw a bowling ball. Now, thanks to the new Exergamers NYC program for seniors, Barbara is back in the game. Along with her partner of 38 years, Pat Sloane, she bowls every week at The SAGE Center in Chelsea.

Exergaming combines technology with exercise, allowing seniors to improve their physical, mental and social well-being by participating in friendly competition and interactive gaming.  The project is made possible by a public-private partnership between Microsoft, NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), and NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). Exergaming has taken root in many of DFTA’s Innovative Senior Centers, which operates throughout all the boroughs of New York City. 

A few months ago, the SAGE center was given Microsoft Kinect for Xbox, which relies on motion sensors—no heavy lifting involved. "Virtual bowling is terrific for me," Barbara explains, "because there's no weight! I just have to swing and hope for the best." As a person who is blind, she says virtual bowling opens up a new world to her. She's at less of a disadvantage with video games than physical games, since she's able to recreate the two-dimensional backdrop using her imagination—and the help of Pat, 70, who describes to her what's on the screen. It allows me think in my mind what it must look like," Barbara explains. "My mind is virtual!" She lights up when she talks about the game, and says she'd love to learn to play other kinds of games using the Xbox—like baseball.

Continue reading "NYC LGBT seniors compete in virtual bowling tournaments with Microsoft Xbox" »

January 23, 2014

LGBT Advocates Disappointed Rules for Community Care Fail to Protect LGBT Older Adults

The undersigned LGBT organizations are deeply disappointed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will not add explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBT and other consumers to Medicaid’s Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. Our organizations along with the National Senior Citizens Law Center, have urged HHS over the past three years to adopt these protections to ensure low-income older adults and people with disabilities can receive needed services and supports without fear of refusal, harassment, or other discrimination because of who they are. The protections were not included in a final rule issued on Thursday to strengthen standards for the long-running program.

HHS seemingly based its decision to reject these LGBT protections, which have been included in other HHS programs, on the notion that general nondiscrimination protections already exist. Despite being made aware of the critical need for explicit LGBT consumer protections, as well as protections on the basis of religion, marital status, and source of payment, HHS simply stated in a new HCBS regulation that these protections were "not necessary."

HHS's surprising statement that protections for LGBT older adults are "not necessary" is contradicted by reports from the Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which have found that discrimination against LGBT people in health settings is widespread. A survey of providers, LGBT consumers, and family members conducted with the National Senior Citizens Law Center found that most believed anti-LGBT discrimination was a problem in long-term care settings and many had witnessed discrimination. Failure to include explicit protections undermines efforts prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in home- and community-based care.

We call on HHS to take immediate action to ensure the health and safety of LGBT older adults and people with disabilities by addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in amended rule or guidance. We also strongly urge HHS to take action to address anti-LGBT discrimination in other health care settings, particularly hospitals and nursing homes. While we urge LGBT consumers who face discrimination in any health setting, including home- and community-based services, to file complaints with HHS on the ground of sex discrimination, explicit LGBT protections are needed to prevent mistreatment and denials of care.

  • Human Rights Campaign
  • FORGE
  • Lambda Legal
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
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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Continue reading "Stu Maddux to Receive the SAGE Advocacy Award at Creating Change 2014" »

January 15, 2014

New Year, New Look, New Resources!

HilaryToday's blog post is written by SAGE's Director of National Programs, Hilary Meyer.

SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older adults. Established in 2010 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides trainingtechnical assistance and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults. The center is led by SAGE, in collaboration with 18 leading organizations from around the country.

Today, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging proudly announces our newly redesigned website! Take some time to look around at these brand new features and programs!

ScreenshotHere are some examples:

  • Volunteer Education Ambassador program - a chance for YOU to become directly involved! The pogram provides volunteers with a set of resources to educate your own communities about LGBT aging issues. Learn more about our new program! 
  • Many brand new training offers – we have developed a suite of in-person and online trainings appropriate for all levels of staff and volunteers, to assist you in learning the best ways to create an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment for your LGBT older adult population. Check out all of our training options today!
  • A Trained Agencies index – this provides you with a searchable database of agencies who have received National Resource Center certified training. Take a look here!
  • A fully revamped website – we listened to your suggestions on ways to make the website more user-friendly and ways to find information easier. We have also added many new sections including:

Alzheimer's/dementia
-end of life decisions
-racial equity and
-more!

Finally, come visit us on Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts and comments!

January 8, 2014

A Healthier YOU: Chair Yoga

According to a 2011 national study on LGBT older adults, high percentages of LGBT older people struggle with health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis, cataracts, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. That's why SAGE is dedicated to providing programs and services designed to help and educate our LGBT elders on a variety of fitness, health and wellness issues. Starting this month, we are highlighting a few of our programs held at The SAGE Center. This post introduces "Chair Yoga" from The SAGE Center's instructor, Ria Cooper.

ChairYoga
Photo Credit: Katie Orlinsky for Al Jazeera America

What is Chair Yoga?

“Chair yoga” refers to the form of gentle yoga practiced while sitting in a chair (or while standing and using the chair for support or balance). Traditional yoga poses are modified to be accessible for students in chairs. In a regular 45-minute chair yoga class at SAGE, we focus on the breath and on the body by doing simple poses that allow us to stretch, breathe, reach, twist, lengthen, strengthen, balance, and relax. The relaxation and meditation practices at the end of class can help us to release stress and can give us an opportunity to check in with ourselves and relax.

What Are the Benefits of Practicing Chair Yoga?

Benefits of chair yoga can include but are not limited to: lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, improved balance, increased flexibility, increased bone density, improved cognitive function, chronic back pain relief, improved lung capacity, anxiety relief, lower risk of heart disease, etc...

Who Can Do Chair Yoga?

Everyone and anyone! Chair yoga can be especially useful for and accessible to older adults who may be dealing with physical limitations from injuries or aging-related stresses to the body. The measured pacing of the class allows for easeful transitions from one pose to the next, and there is always time for questions and individual modifications if a particular pose doesn’t feel right. Chair yoga can also be a good introduction to yoga if you’re brand new and are interested but have never tried it.

What Should I Wear?

You should wear loose-fitting clothing that you feel comfortable moving in and that doesn’t restrict your movement. Some people like to take off their socks and shoes; some don’t. It’s entirely up to you.

When Can I Come Practice Chair Yoga at SAGE?

Tuesdays, 6:15-7pm, at the SAGE Center (305 Seventh Avenue, 15th floor, NY NY) and/or Thursdays, 1-1:45pm, at the The SAGE Center Brooklyn at the YWCA (30 Third Avenue, Brooklyn NY).

Who Are You?

I’m a freelance yoga teacher for the nonprofit Compass Yoga, and I teach chair yoga classes for SAGE twice a week.  I travel all over Brooklyn and Manhattan to teach at various senior centers, preschools and yoga studios, and the chair yoga classes at SAGE are my favorite. If you’re interested, you can learn more about me on my website.