February 4, 2016

2016: A View of Hope

In honor of Black History Month, SAGE is publishing a series of posts from our diverse partners, constituents and allies. This post was originally published on the Diverse Elders Coalition's blog. Dr. Imani Woody is the Chair and Program Executive for SAGE Metro D.C. and is the Founding Director and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults.

I have been thinking about what it means to be me: an older, African American out lesbian, wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, educator, and CEO, living and working in the United States. In 2008, the words Audacity of Hope and hopeful came to mind, in reference to then President-Elect Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope and my experiences.

Caregivers.-Office-on-Aging.-ImaniI was born in segregated Washington, DC in a time when nonwhites couldn’t eat in dining establishments; when people of color were treated at two medical hospitals, Freedman’s, the hospital for Negroes, or DC General, the city hospital. It was a time where my parents would have to go back “home” to North Carolina to vote for President, where a retired professional was found living in a chicken coop, and being outwardly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or anyway same-gender loving carried a mentally ill diagnosis from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-I).

Fast forward to the 1960s, which are indeed a time of hope. Mary Church Terrell has won her lawsuit and leads a successful movement to desegregate public facilities in Washington, DC; Ethel Percy Andrus, after finding a retired woman living in a chicken coop, leads two organization to create decent living conditions and financial stability to elders, and Bayard Rustin, an openly, gay, Black man and confidante to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the key organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 becomes the law of the land. The audacity of hope – things can change.

The 70s bring marriage and a son, and I open an independent Black school for young people to learn African history; DC has its first gay pride march and the APA removes homosexuality from the DSM. The 80s bring the enactment of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in DC, and I join more than 5 million people to make a chain in the Hands Across America campaign to fight hunger and homelessness. Me, I recognize my love for women, come out to my son, and divorce my husband.

In the 90s, Clinton signs “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law; I find an increased commitment to advocate for people of color, elders, women, children and people who identify as lesbian and gay. I volunteer and sit on boards and committees of organizations to promote the health and wellbeing of people who look like me.  The audacity of hope – things can change.

Early in the new millennium, Washington, DC adds sexual orientation and gender identity to its Human Rights law, Massachusetts is the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and I start working at AARP, joining the small, dedicated and growing movement working to embrace LGBT into the meaning of its “whole person” inclusiveness. At AARP, I work to change policy to include domestic partnership for staff and members, organize the first AARP LGBT 50+ reception at a LIFE @50 event, and sponsor Services and Advocacy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders’ (SAGE) 30th Birthday Conference Celebration. I become the chair of SAGE Metro DC, an affiliate of SAGE, in part to reflect the presence of older, gay, Black people. Older out LGBT people are visible at AARP. Older, out Black LGBT people are visible at SAGE.  The audacity to hope – things can change.

However, the more things change the more things remain the same. Black elders as a whole are still over represented in the lower economic strata. Elderly Black people are being pushed out of the public housing that they have lived in for decades. The Supreme Court voids the formula that protects voting rights. LGBTQ elders are going back into the closet because it’s too hard to be old and gay. Workers are still marching and campaigning to receive a decent living wage. Black men, women and children are being killed by the police in record numbers. LGBTQ people continue to be killed at an alarming rate and the murder of Black transgender women is still the highest.

This brings me again to the audacity to hope, that things can change and that things do change. Amid racial tension and atrocities, a Black man is completing his second term as the President of the United States of America. A police officer was indicted for killing an unarmed black person – in Georgia. Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with other white, Black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, Spanish, female, male, Transgender, older, younger, middle class, working poor, retired, truck drivers, teachers, students, professionals, housekeepers, parents, children, politicians, actors, undocumented residents, and citizens created a hue and cry to remind everyone that Black Lives Matter.

As an older, African America, out lesbian, wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, educator, and CEO, living and working in the United States, I have witnessed events that give meaning to Jesse Jackson’s “Keep Hope Alive.” I am forever grateful to stand on the shoulders of Black folks like Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman Too?” W.E.B. Dubois: “Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” Fannie Lou Hammer: “…And whether you’re from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together.” Maya Angelou: “And Still I Rise.” Nikki Giovanni: “Show me someone not full of herself and I’ll show you an empty person.” Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Barbara Smith: “One of the greatest gifts of Black feminism to ourselves has been to make it a little easier simply to be Black and female.” And Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (“You can’t win what you won’t fight for”) audacity to hope, to advocate for action that leads to change. Such change, in turn, leads to an audacity to hope.

Note: This is an adaptation of a piece written in 2008 for The Spectrum Newsletter Fall/Winter Vol II Issue 3.

January 28, 2016

Making Senior Housing Policy LGBT Friendly

SAGE and Enterprise Community Partners presents this introductory Fair Housing Webinar around LGBT issues. An expert panel introduces topics such as: What are the current protections for individuals with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity in housing? What are some real life experiences of LGBT older adults who have faced housing discrimination? What recourse do LGBT older adults currently have if they face discrimination? And what new policy changes and protections may be coming down the pike? Click here for a PDF of all of the slides of the presentation or click below to watch the webinar! The next one is in April, so stay tuned by signing up for housing updates.

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Panelists include:

  • Cheryl Gladstone, Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations, SAGE
  • Kate Scott, Director of Fair Housing, Equal Rights Center
  • Karen Loewy, Senior Attorney, Lambda Legal
January 27, 2016

Rage Against the Dying of the Light: Aging from Diverse Perspectives

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Vega Subramaniam shares her story on caregiving.

SAGE was proud to be presenting on a panel with our partners in the Diverse Elders Coalition at Creating Change, taking place last week in Chicago. The panel entitled, “Rage Against the Dying of the Light: Aging from Diverse Perspectives,” discussed the specific needs that diverse elders have as they age and whether current programs, services, supports, and laws allow us to meet the needs of these growing and intersecting populations. It delved into a variety of “isms” and phobias, from racism and ageism to transphobia and biphobia. And it explored what we can do at the federal, state, and local levels to address the myriad challenges and opportunities diverse aging presents.

 

As SAGE’s point person on federal affairs, I talked about what the federal government can do to address the unique challenges faced by LGBT older adults. As a population that faces pronounced social isolation, higher poverty rates than their non-LGBT counterparts, and at the same time, diminished access to culturally competent services, supports, and healthcare, our federal government can and should do more. It has the tools to address the chasm that exists between the greater need and the lower likelihood of this population accessing the critical services and supports they need to remain independent.

What can be done? As Congress works to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), it can include language proposed by Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Patrick Murphy that would target LGBT older adults for services and supports and hold the aging network accountable for reaching them – all by designating LGBT older adults a group of “Greatest Social Need.” Read more about our recommendations on updating the OAA via our latest policy report: Updating the Older Americans Act: Why Do LGBT Older Adults Need Support?

In the meantime, the Obama Administration can help as well. The Administration on Aging can require states to evaluate whether they are meeting the needs of LGBT older adults in their communities – and if they find they are not – require the states to report back on how they will meet the needs of LGBT older adults in their communities.

Many thanks to Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services; Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting for sharing their stories and viewpoints. This esteemed panel discussed both the challenges facing LGBT older adults and their counterparts and what we all can do – from Congress and the Obama Administration to activists in communities across the country – to ensure that all older adults get the services and supports they need to age with dignity. 

 

January 19, 2016

Join SAGE at Creating Change!

SAGE at Creating Change
It's that time of year again! CREATING CHANGE! Creating Change is an annual gathering of organizers and activists working to create a world in which sexual orientations and gender expressions will be welcomed and celebrated. SAGE will be there representing and advocating for LGBT older adults and providing a series of workshops, trainings and a safe space for our elders to be celebrated.

Here's the aging track at a glance! Don't forget about the Accessibility Hospitality Suite located in Room 1203 and the Elder Hospitality Suite in Room 2079! 

Elder Hospitality Suite, Room 2079
Thursday  8am-8pm Friday & Saturday  8am-10pm
Stop by for refreshment, relaxation, networking, and conversation! There will also be opportunities to record and share your own stories.

Meals available daily (times are approximate):
Breakfast 8:00am Lunch 12:00pm Dinner 5:30pm

Special Programming:
Thurs 6:00 -7:00pm—Senior Voice: Constituent Advocacy Group from Center on Halsted
Fri 12:15-1:15pm—LGBTQ in Chicago: A Historical Perspective with John D’Emilio
Fri 6:00-8:00pm— Cross Generational Storytelling Program in Youth Suite
Sat 6:00-7:00pm— National Landscape Snapshot with Serena Worthington, SAGE and Troy Johnson, Center on Halsted

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21

LGBT Elder and Ally Advocacy and Movement Building: Towards Equal Treatment for All
9:00am-6:30pm Lake Huron, 8th Floor
This Institute convenes LGBT people and their allies to learn how to 1) tell a powerful story 2) capture stories in the field and 3) learn how stories are used to tackle issues of primary importance to LGBT elders across the country. The day opens with stories from LGBT activists, including members of SAGE Center on Halsted’s noted Senior Voice program and also features a series of skill building workshops focused on storytelling fundamentals taught by Christa Orth, a storyteller from Brooklyn, New York. The second half of the day focuses on storytelling models including OUTSpoken!, a monthly live event in Chicago that features LBGTQ storytelling.

Our afternoon workshops consist of technical training on capturing stories using video via smartphones video and audio interviews using the StoryCorps model. The day will culminate in the capturing of individual stories. LGBT older adults, staff and constituents of aging service agencies, LGBT and social justice organizations, and students are encouraged to attend. All are welcome!
Hosted by Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and  facilitated by Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives, SAGE

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22

Building Age Inclusive LGBT Centers and Services
Workshop 19:00am–10:30am Williford B, 3rd Floor
LGBT older adults are often overlooked by the LGBT community. We know from both research and anecdotal evidence that LGBT older adults often do not feel welcome or comfortable accessing LGBT services, community centers, and programming. This is a critically underserved population that is often quite isolated. Many LGBT organizations have enhanced their efforts at creating outreach and programming that will help bring in LGBT older adults. This presentation will highlight a new guide from the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and give participants concrete suggestions for reaching LGBT older adults.
Presenters: Tim Johnston, SAGE; Terri Clark, ActionAIDS

Challenging Ageism
Workshop 2 10:45am–12:15pm Room 4A, 4th Floor
Ageism is not spoken about, understood, addressed, or acted upon in very many places despite all the publicity about how the US population is “growing older.” Old people are ignored, ridiculed, patronized, and told they should look young, act young, think young, etc. Young women especially start worrying about looking old in their 20s, something indicated on many birthday cards. For the health and wellbeing of all, especially old people, we need to learn how to recognize it at many ages and practice challenging it. Lesbians over 60 from Old Lesbians Organizing for Change will share information, tell personal stories, and circulate ads and birthday cards that illustrate how ageism works. We will ask attendees for stories and examples of how they can respond to these. The group will do role plays to practice challenging ageism.
Presenters:  Jan Griesinger and Ali Marrero-Calderon, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

 SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues Honoring Katherine Acey
Presented by SAGE CEO Michael Adams 
Plenary Session: State of the Movement
1:30pm–2:45pm  •  International Ballroom

SATURDAY, JANUARY 23
Longing for Home: Safe & Affordable Elder Housing
Workshop 59:00am–10:30am PDR 2, 3rd Floor
One of the biggest issues facing many LGBT older adults is finding safe, affordable housing in cities across the country.  Due to higher levels of financial insecurity and a general lack    of affordable housing, many LGBT elders find that they cannot afford homes in the communities they may have lived in for years. Others face harassment and intimidation in their homes and in long-term care settings from aging professionals, other residents, and even their own family members. In recent years, LGBT aging advocates have begun addressing these housing insecurities through a variety of approaches including: expanding programs and services; training providers; changing policy; and educating consumers. Join us for a conversation about how these approaches are being implemented nation-wide.
Presenters: Serena Worthington, SAGE; Britta Larson, Center on Halsted; Tripp Mills, Los Angeles LGBT Center

Rage Against the Dying of the Light: LGBT Aging Diverse Perspectives
Workshop 6 10:45am–12:15pm PDR 2, 3rd Floor
What are the unique needs that LGBT people of color face as they get older? Are programs, services, policies, and laws meeting those needs? This discussion will identify some of the resources for LGBT elders of color, and will allow participants to think about the intersecting impacts of ageism, racism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Presenters will facilitate a discussion with national perspectives and local solutions.
Presenters: Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services; Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting; Aaron Tax, SAGE; Serena Worthington, SAGE

OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) Caucus
Caucus 2 6:30pm–7:30pm PDR 4, 3rd Floor
OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) Caucus will help attendees become familiar with the Organization of Old Lesbians and the lives of Old Lesbians. Attendees will discuss their own communities and the need for Old Lesbian activism, community building, and education about ageism and the intersection with other oppressions. Attendees will also leave with information on how to start a group or chapter in their own geographic area.
Presenters: Ruth Debra, Sally Tatnall, Jan Griesinger and Bonnie Wagner from Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

Queer People of Color Elders Caucus
Caucus 2 6:30pm–7:30pm Room 4E, 4th Floor
For the first time in U.S. history, there is a critical mass of out, activist queer people of color who are approaching retirement age. Our generation is the open-faced-sandwich generation, caring for elder parents, but not necessarily having children to care for us. Let’s start sharing our questions and struggles, and start planning together. This caucus is a venue for us to address questions such as: How will we ensure that service providers are culturally competent? Who will make decisions about our care, death, and funeral? In our QPOC social movements, how do we create intergenerational spaces and pass on institutional knowledge? What legacy do we want to leave?
Presenters: Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting; Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services


LGBT Elders 50+ and Allies Dance

9:00pm-Midnight Continental  A&B, Lobby Level
Join DJ OCD who will be blending and mixing Chicago House, Spanish and Latino tunes for us to boogie down to, shake a tail feather at and party all night with. This annual event is free and open to people of all ages, races, faith traditions, sexual orientations and gender identities. All Welcome! Sponsored by AARP.

 

January 11, 2016

The Secret to a Long Life

When the New York Times asked for videos that capture the secrets that adults over 85 had for living a long life, SAGE jumped in to action to ensure that LGBT older adults were featured.  In this compilation by the Times, four of our constituents were featured.  

Starting at 1:13, Jerre Kalbas, 97, stated "hard work." Richard Morse, 90, said "Don't stop breathing. Don't kvetch and respect others for who they are." Joe Easter, 87, spoke of a passion for painting that "keeps him [me] going." Catherine Cumberbatch, 93 and pictured above, offered this: "Be aware of the pleasure that you get when you give something or do something for people that really need it."  

With Catherine's words in mind, we ask you to take three minutes to complete SAGE's Strategic Plan survey that will inform our work for years to come. We are soliciting input from all of our valued stakeholders and community members in order to bring LGBT elders from the margins to the middle. Allies and people under 50 are welcome, so please take the survey and share widely!

December 21, 2015

LGBT Older Adults Town Hall or the First Time I Visited Florida

I have a confession. Until last week, I had never been to Florida. As a West Coaster for much of my life, Florida was simply too far. My inaugural visit was to Fort Lauderdale and included: eating lots of tacos; having everyone apologize to me because it was 80 degrees and overcast; attending the largest weekly gathering of LGBT older adults in the US; visiting with folks from our oldest affiliate, SAGE of South Florida and our newest, SAGE Tampa Bay; and, the main reason for my visit, serving on a panel at Town Hall meeting focused on LGBT older adults. I was proud to join a distinguished panel and a sizable crowd of LGBT and allied people for this important conversation. Moderated by the knowledgeable and passionate Hannah Willard, Policy and Outreach Coordinator for Equality Florida, the panel included David Jobin, President/Chief Executive Officer, Our Fund; Elizabeth Schwartz, Esq., Principal, Elizabeth F. Schwartz Attorneys and Mediators; and Stephanie Schneider, Esq., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, Law Office of Stephanie L. Schneider, P.A.

In partnership with AARP Florida, Equality Florida, Our Fund and SAGE, the Town Hall was held at the Pride Center at Equality Park in the Wilton Manors neighborhood. Just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors is described by USA today as, “the epicenter of gay life in all of South Florida.” This sounds a little hyperbolic but the census data lines right up. “The 2012 U.S. Census revealed which cities have the highest concentration of same-sex couple households (among cities with a population of 65,000 or above). The surprising frontrunner? Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where same-sex couples make up a whopping 2.8 percent of total households.” Another stat, which will surprise no one, is that 19.1% of Floridans are over 65.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to be around lots and lots of LGBT people, I experience a familiar duality. I’m exhilarated by the density of people like me; I feel safe; I feel a kind of calm and warmth and, simultaneously, I’m saddened by the reality that even in a place like Wilton Manors—where I can enjoy the sight of two older women walking hand-in-hand, gray heads bent towards each other, strolling slowly across a parking lot—even in this epicenter of gay life, LGBT people, including our elders, do not have full equality.

“AARP knows that for too long, LGBT elders have faced challenges as they navigate life that others do not.  In order to best fight for and equip each individual to live their best life as they age, it’s imperative for us to know what issues this community is facing and how we can collaborate to address them.”  Jeff Johnson, State Director, AARP Florida

This concentration of LGBT elders warrants our attention and our action. Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director of Equality Florida, clarifies why. “LGBT elders encounter the same challenges as other seniors: declining health, diminished income, ageism, the loss of family and friends. But, as so many know first hand, LGBT elders often must deal with ignorance and discrimination in the services available to them. That makes them among the most invisible, stigmatized, underserved and at-risk populations in the country.” This Town Hall, is the first of two community dialogues in Florida to learn how aging service providers and LGBT organizations in Florida are working to address these vast concerns and to identify what else needs to be done to assure that LGBT older adults in Florida enjoy a high quality of life free from discrimination. The second will be on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Metro Wellness Community Center, home of SAGE Tampa Bay.

David highlighted a new South Florida initiative by Our Fund and SAGE called Protecting Our Elders (POE). Working with local LGBT organizations, POE seeks to change the landscape and ensure that any services to or care required by an LGBT elder happens in a welcoming and discrimination-free environment. Stephanie and Elizabeth (who serves on SAGE’s board of directors) addressed legal and financial issues and I shared market research from our recent report, Out & Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-75. From the quality of the suggestions, observations and questions from the audience, it seems to me that the mix of informed LGBT older adults, engaged organizations from the aging sector like AARP Florida, committed funders like Our Fund, and hard-working LGBT organizations like Equality Florida are exactly what’s needed in this fight. 

By: Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives
Follow her on Twitter at @SerenaWorthy

 

December 9, 2015

Historic Convening on LGBT Aging

On Tuesday, November 17th, 2015, SAGE in collaboration with the Federal Administration for Community Living hosted a convening of consumers and influential stakeholders from state and local aging programs, the LGBT community and LGBT older adults, data and research experts, and federal aging officials, to analyze available research and data and identify next steps for enhancing Aging Services Network outreach to LGBT older adults. 

The participants reflected the diversity of individuals both impacted by and involved in our federal aging policies, including: Kathy Greenlee, Administrator, Administration for Community Living/Assistant Secretary for Aging; Nora Super, Executive Director, White House Conference on Aging; Deborah Stone-Walls, Maui County Office on Aging, Wailuku, HI; Raven Heavy Runner, Muckleshoot Tribe, Pacific Northwest; and James Bulot, Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, Atlanta, GA, among many others.  Together, we worked to create a cross-sector roadmap for the federal government, the aging network, LGBT-serving organizations, data experts, and researchers, to enhance Aging Services Network outreach to LGBT older adults.

December 1, 2015

By 2020, 70% of Those Living With HIV Will be 50 or Older

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Did you know that 50% of those living with HIV are age 50 or older? By 2020, that number will grow to 70%. The latest national data show that adults 50 and older account for 17% of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses and 29% of all persons living with AIDS. Research also finds that over 50% of adults age 65-74 and 26% of age 75-85 are sexually active with more than one partner. But ageist misconceptions, combined with poor sexual health education, contribute to the growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS in elders and stall prevention efforts. 

On this World AIDS Day, and every day, SAGE is committed to providing services and support to our elders living with HIV/AIDS, working with our partners to promote policy changes on the national level, as well as continuing to educate the public on the issues surrounding HIV and aging

One major announcement that hits close to SAGE's main office in New York City is Governor Cuomo seeking an additional $200 million dollars in New York state funding to help those with HIV/AIDS, SAGE hopes that Cuomo achieves his goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS in New York by 2020 and applauds his request for additional funding.

In other national news, the University of California San Francisco is set to receive a $20 million grant to find a cure for AIDS over the next five years. It’s part of a $100 million effort by the American Foundation for AIDS Research or amfAR, to fund the most promising research that could lead to curing AIDS. SAGE Center Harlem Community Liaison and star of Before You Know It Ty Martin states "Who would imagine that 35 years later that there would be a cure on the horizon? For our LGBT elders who lived through the epidemic to even conceive that such a day would come is amazing.” 

SAGE Care Manager Bill Mendez also shares his message on World AIDS Day in a video he shot for YouTube. Bill currently runs an HIV support group and was instrumental in starting a group for long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS at SAGE.

November 24, 2015

Caregiving: It's a Family Affair

As I think about November being Family Caregiver month, I'm reminded about my own family caregiver journey and what started my work in support of LGBT older adult advocacy. In October of 2005, my mother-in-law came to live in St. Louis, MO with me and my wife. Over the next three years we would experience the joys and challenges of caregiving. During this time our mother’s health began to steadily decline from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart and kidney failure. Her bedroom became a makeshift hospital room as we brought in home health nurses and eventually hospice.

 

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Sherrill and her wife and family surround her mother-in-law.


Our greatest concern as we brought services into our home was ensuring that the organizations who worked with her were LGBT friendly. We feared that a homophobic nurse might enter our house, recognize her caregivers were lesbian, and cause harm to our mother. But how would we know if the providers were safe and welcoming? There were no LGBT friendly older adult agencies in St. Louis at the time or referral networks we could call. Luckily for us, the first home health agency we hired immediately recognized that we were a loving couple caring for our mother and treated us, and most importantly our mother, with the dignity and respect she deserved.

It was through this journey of family caregiving that my wife and I realized, if we have this concern then other LGBT caregivers are also facing these same fears and concerns. This journey led us to start a SAGENet affiliate–SAGE of PROMO Fund (formerly SAGE Metro St. Louis)–to help ensure that LGBT older adults and caregivers had a place to call for support.

As the new SAGE Manager of National Projects, I invite you to visit the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging website and our Caregiver Resource page. Here you will find a number of resources that will help navigate the family caregiver journey. You will also find listings by state of local and national resource organizations that may be of assistance to you as you provide care and support to a loved one. 

 

Caregiving is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences that you may encounter. We hope the resources we have provided are helpful and that you know you are not alone in this journey. During the month of November and every month, we honor and celebrate YOU, our family caregivers!

November 20, 2015

TDOR: Honoring in Different Ways

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Today is international Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a time when people all over the world unite in support of our transgender community and honor the memory of those murdered because of anti-transgender prejudice. If you're in NYC and wish to join SAGE, our SAGE Center Midtown will be hosting a vigil starting at 6:45 PM this evening. We are located at 305 7th Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY (between 27 and 28th Streets). That said, the following serves a reminder that not everyone may want to take part in TDOR events. Originally featured on FORGE's website as part of their #30DaysofAction, you can read the original here.

This weekend many communities will be holding TDOR and/or Trans March of Resilience events. TDOR is hard for many people. While some are comforted and feel supported by gathering together to mourn those who had their lives taken by anti-transgender violence, others feel more painful emotions.  For many, being reminded of this severity of violence can stimulate intense fear and sometimes a sense of hopelessness.  Many avoid attending TDOR events altogether.

There is NOTHING wrong with you or others if you cannot or do not want to attend TDOR events (or read or hear about them, either).

Think about the trans people you know: are any not planning on attending a TDOR? Does anyone express distress or avoid discussing TDORs altogether? If so, consider creating an alternative.

  • Create a distraction: organize an outing to an upbeat movie, host a card party, or take a friend shopping (don’t forget secondhand stores if money is limited!). You don’t lose your “trans card” for taking care of yourself and/or your friends.
  • Offer a listening ear. Sometimes what feels most healing is getting long-buried feelings out in the open. This can happen anywhere, at any time, but you can also offer it to the community: put on social media that you will be at X coffeehouse at X time if anyone wants to drop by and talk or just sit together.
  • Encourage people to engage in self-care. This year, in particular, the trans community has been in almost constant mourning for our dead. Sometimes the way we can best honor our dead is by valuing our own lives, which includes self-care when we need it.