21 posts categorized "Women"

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 8, 2013

How an Old Lesbian Learned New Tricks

This is a guest post by Pam Chamberlain, former educator and producer of an independent documentary film  based on a Boston LGBTQ youth theater troupe.

When I retired last spring from a career in education and research, I wondered what effect the transition would have on my identity. I was joining the first big wave of LGBT baby boomer retirees. What did that mean? Would I feel liberated, at loose ends or useless? Little did I know that my ideas about identity would be challenged in such fundamental, and intellectually curious, ways by a new generation of queer activists.

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April 5, 2013

Life After Kathy: A Widow's Story

During the month of April, SAGE will be featuring stories relating to the importance of marriage equality for LGBT older adults every Friday. These stories are also part of our SAGE Story series. Do you have a story you would like to share? Tell us today!


Lynne_kathy_final_SSLynne and Kathy Vantran celebrated the 18th of every month with, at the very least, a special dinner out together. They held the number sacred because on December 18, 1980, they met while serving in the military. Both were teenagers getting over relationships with ex-boyfriends, and as Lynne described it, “we were literally crying in our beer." 

As they helped each other through their failed relationships, Lynne and Kathy could not help but notice the relationship that was forming between them. Little by little, they grew close together as they shared a deep secret. By June 18, 1981, Lynne and Kathy received special permission to move out of the army barracks, a reward for their excellent conduct as soldiers, and the couple moved in together to an apartment off-base.

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March 29, 2013

SAGE Women’s Programming in New York City

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Felicia Sobel, LCSW

Every Friday in March, which is Women’s History Month, the SAGE Blog is featuring posts by and about LGBT older women. Links to previous entries are at the end of this post. Today’s entry in our Women's History Month series is by Felicia Sobel, LCSW, Women’s Programming Coordinator. She came to SAGE in June 2011 with the goal of expanding programs for women.

When I had the opportunity to become a SAGE employee, I was hardly new to the community, but in my new role as Women’s Programming Coordinator, I was delighted to invest my energy in a project near and dear to my heart—the development and facilitation of events and programs designed specifically for LGBT older women in and around New York City.

My goal was to create an array of events and programs to reflect the breadth of interests I knew this population represented.  Too often, aging is equated with decline and diminishing strengths. On the contrary, growing older means reaching a life stage where friendships deepen, values intensify, goals (old and new) crystallize, wisdom emerges and interests often flourish.

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March 28, 2013

Inside the Supreme Court Marriage Equality Hearings

This is a post by Aaron Tax, SAGE’s Director of Federal Government Relations. He attended the Prop 8 and DOMA hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and tweeted live from the steps of the Supreme Court. Visits twitter.com/sageusa to follow all the latest news.

I had the good fortune to attend the Supreme Court hearings this week on Prop 8 and DOMA. However, after standing in line in the dark and the cold on two long consecutive mornings, the last thing I wanted to hear from the Supreme Court was anything about standing (albeit standing of a different variety).  Given the long and circuitous procedural paths each of the cases took to get to the Supreme Court, that was, however, one of the common themes over two days of arguments on same-sex marriage.  The first day focused on whether individuals have a Constitutional right to get married  to someone of the same sex. The second focused on whether the federal government must recognize those marriages.  I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with Edie, the named plaintiff in the second case, Windsor v. United States.

 

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Aaron Tax and Edie Windsor

 

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March 22, 2013

Evie’s Story: “If Hitler Didn't Kill Me, You Will”

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Evie and her beloved dog
March is Women’s History Month and in honor, the SAGE Blog will feature relevant LGBT aging stories every Friday. Read the other posts by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Evie is an older Jewish lesbian living in New York City. Her parents are Holocaust survivors and because of their hardships and history, they instilled in her the key messages of acceptance and social awareness. So when Evie came out to her mother at age 23, she was shocked when her mother spit on the floor and said to her, “If Hitler didn’t kill me, you will.” It’s been 40 years since this moment, yet there has been slow progress in Evie’s relationships with her family. “There has been little tolerance in my family about me coming out…The very lesson they ingrained in me, they could not do themselves.”

Listen to Evie’s story now.

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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)

 

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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.

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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).

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February 14, 2013

Here & Gone: LGBT Elders Celebrate Love this Valentine’s Day

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, we put together some pictures (and a video) to celebrate LGBT older people and the love they share in their lives. Here’s the first picture. Phyllis and Connie met at a SAGE women’s discussion group and 12 year later made headlines as the first same-sex couple to legally marry in New York City. In fact, BuzzFeed recently displayed their wedding photos as part of their feature “20 Photos That Could Change Someone's Mind About Gay Marriage.” (Also pictured at #17 is a photo from SAGE Board Member Reggie Stanley’s wedding.)

We also recognize that Valentine’s Day can be a day of remembrance for those who have lost a partner. One older gay man shared this love note with us about his partner who passed away.

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