SAGE congratulates Diana Nyad on completing her historic swim from Cuba to Florida! Not only is she role model for the LGBT community, but her positive attitude on aging is a joy to watch.
Listen to Diana talk about how at 64 she is at "the prime of her life." A great message to us all!
May is Older Americans Month, a proud tradition that shows our commitment to honoring the value that elders contribute 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 honoring the power LGBT elders possess.
Today’s post focuses on Joanne Borden, a WWII veteran, grandmother and transgender elder
who fiercely advocates for her community. Most recently, she is working alongside the Empire State Pride Agenda to raise awareness about the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and bringing it over the finish line this legislative session.
Watch her powerful story here:
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."
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.