Monday, October 29, 2012
First Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) SAGE Center for Older Adults, Seniors (Video 1:34)
America’s first full-service center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults is located in New York City. The Services and Advocacy of GLBT Elders (SAGE) Center opened earlier this year and serves the city's five boroughs. Members receive help with everything from health and wellness to meals and technology. For many of them, the center represents a place for “family” relationships missing due to lack of biological family support because of their sexual orientation.
LGBT older adults and other sexual minorities have increasingly been discriminated against and abused by members of society, including healthcare providers and others who resent them because of their sexual orientation. Damage to their emotional and physical health has been so devastating that some members of this population have resorted to suicide. Singlehood and lack of children by most people in this community add further to their sense of isolation.
There are SAGE Center opponents who say having a separate center for LGBT populations and promoting their philosophy is wrong and against the principles of equality, especially if any taxpayer funds are used to support it. On the other hand, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it's time to change the "one-size-fits-all" approach that has traditionally shaped senior centers. SAGE is one of several organizations awarded an Innovative Senior Center contract by the mayor’s office and the New York City Department for the Aging. Do you think the LGBT community should have separate centers?
View more information about the SAGE Center on this video titled NYC Opens Full-Service LGBT Senior Center:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.