Monthly Archives: February 2013

Lesbian Widow Explains It All

handsThe Huffington Post has produced a 20-minute video, “Retirement Home-ophobia,” that gives a great overview of LGBT housing issues, including interviews with several LGBT elders and housing providers.

But what makes the piece invaluable is a quote from widow Alice Herman that starts around minute 9:20.  Talking about the recent loss of her life-partner, she said, “All that made me real was my history.  I had a 45-year history of love.  And if I couldn’t talk about it, share it, where was my life?”

There, in a nutshell, is why LGBT-affirming services are so critical.  Check it out at http://live.huffingtonpost.com/#r/segment/elderly-gays%3B-lgbt-nursing-homes/51140a38fe344437520001da

NYC HIV and Aging Conference March 25

acriaONE-DAY CONFERENCE ON HIV AND AGING
AGING WELL WITH HIV: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013

9 AM – 5 PM
FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
LINCOLN CENTER
12th Floor FACULTY LOUNGE
Lowenstein Building
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023

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SAGE Story Launches New Educational Resource

elderSAGE has launched a wonderful new online resource, SAGE Story, a new national storytelling initiative for lesbian, gay, bisexaul and transgender (LGBT) older adults.

The project, headquartered online at http://sageusa.org/programs/sagestory.cfm, was launched to “create a national voice on aging issues shaped by the insights and actions of LGBT older people.  The purpose of the program is to strengthen the storytelling skills — and draw on the unique life experiences — of LGBT elders to diversify the public narratives on aging, long-term care and LGBT rights.  Four sections highlight different story-telling methods:

– “See” features still pictures of LGBT older adults holding up hand-drawn signs that (at least currently) answer the question, “What would help you live a joyful and healthy life as you age”?

– “Watch” is a collection of short videos on a range of topics.

– “Listen” are audio-only podcasts of individuals’ stories.

– “Read” features written opinion pieces and much more.

The project actively solicits submissions, and SAGE is rolling out (first in New York, then nationwide) skillbuilding workshops to help older adults contribute.  “We will also partner with storytelling experts and policy-based organizations to bring these stories into the current public and political conversations.”

New LGBT Elder Abuse Materials Available

Forge-Blk-tan_CROPFORGE’s Transgender Aging Network, in partnership with the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (NRCLA), is very pleased to announce the publication of new materials on LGBT elder abuse, available at http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resources.cfm?s=5

One of the new publications, “A Self-Help Guide for LGBT Older Adults and their Caregivers and Loved Ones: Preventing, Recognizing, and Addressing Elder Abuse” (http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/SELF-HELP_elderAbuse_Guide.pdf), is the first comprehensive article on the topic written specifically for the LGBT community.  The second new publication, “Identifying and Assisting LGBT Elder Abuse Clients: A Guide for Abuse Professionals” (http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/Assisting_LGBT_Elder_Abuse_clients.pdf), is designed for professionals who address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation issues, focusing on what they need to know about LGBT victims.

Both articles are part of a new “Elder Abuse” section in NRCLA’s comprehensive online Resource Center.  Other available materials include webcasts, LGBT-specific domestic violence fact sheets and articles, a study of problems LGBT people face in long-term care facilities, a guide for attorneys representing LGBT domestic violence victims, and much more.

Smiles Abound: A Video of an African-American Lesbian Couple

Gail Marquis and Audrey SmaltzIf you need a pick-me-up, watch a 9-minute video of Gail Marquis and Audrey Smaltz at http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2013/02/14/devotion-project-gail-marquis-audrey-smaltz-foremost-my-mind.

Now 57 and 75, respectively, the two met 14 years ago.  Their senses of humor, ease with each other, and optimism are all infectious.  Enjoy!

African-American LGBTs and Advance Directives

Ruth and Evelyn DiazAfrican-Americans are less likely than white Americans to have advance directives, a discrepancy that may be particularly dangerous to African-American LGBT older adults.

A new article from American Society on Aging (ASA) member Natalie Chin offers the story of a 30-year lesbian couple who were separated by family members when one of the pair entered a nursing home.  Advance directives could have prevented that tragedy.  The article goes on to describe the types of documents that are included under the “advance directives” umbrella, and suggests people can get “informatio on organizations that assist individuals with advance directives at www.lawhelp.org.”  The article is available from http://www.asaging.org/blog/reticence-and-necessity-power-attorney-and-lgbt-aging-issues

A Story of Love, Grief, and Community

James and DamienHave you seen SAGE’s new blog?  (It’s at http://blog.sageusa.org/)  The Huffington Post has, yesterday reposting “Moving on From Hurricane Sandy: One Older Gay Man’s Story of Love and Loss” (at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/damien-wade/moving-on-hurricane-sandy_b_2677278.html)

The article is about James McCormick, 72, and his partner David Maxwell, 65, a couple of five years’ standing.  James, a stroke survivor, was living safely in a nursing home when Hurricane Sandy hit Staten Island and drowned David in their home.  The balance of the article, written by James’ SAGE Case Manager Damien Wade, talks about how a variety of agencies, officials, and individuals have come together to support James and help him bury David.  Veterans Affairs not only paid for David’s burial (he was a Vietnam vet), but also paid for James’ transportation to the funeral and gave him the flag the Armed Forces and the President provided for David’s funeral.  Today it hangs in James’ room at the nursing home.

SAGE is currently working to arrange transportation for James so he can attend SAGE programming at the Staten Island LGBT Community Center.  Damien concludes,  “Hurricane Sandy changed James’ life.  It impacted us all.  In times like these, we are reminded of the power in our communities when we band together to help one another.”

Homesharing for LGBT Older Adults

housingThe Huffington Post has published an article giving advice to older LGBT people considering sharing a home with others:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/gay-seniors-housing_n_2664916.html

The article notes that the Center on Halsted in Chicago is the first known program focused on LGBT people, started in 2010.   So far, they have matched 11 home- or lease-owners with roommates.

Two informally-arranged homesharing arrangements are also addressed, along with advice on how to draw up documents to legally protect everyone.

Twenty Pictures

Paul Harris and partnerThey’re not all of older couples, but the title of the collection is right on: “20 Photos That Could Change Someone’s Mind About Gay Marriage.”

Surf over to http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/20-photos-that-could-change-someones-mind-on-gay-marriage to get your smile on.

African-American LGBT Elders

Larry SaxxonIn honor of Black History Month, the Bay Area Reporter has published an article entitled, “Black LGBT elders face isolation,” at http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=68482

The article interviews six Black or mixed-race LGBT people ranging in age from 40 to 64, and focuses heavily on the impact AIDS has had on this cohort.  It also, however, contains a quote that speaks to “hidden” populations when they realize they are welcome somewhere:

“[Larry Saxxon] recalled being the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s first black social worker in the 1980s.  ‘They said, “there may not be a lot of black clients, Larry,” Saxxon, who’s multi-racial, said.  However he said, ‘The word came out, honey, and all of these black queens came flying in from the Tenderloin.'”