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May 11, 2017

Local orgs participate in national event for LGBT elders

Philadelphia Gay News
By Jeremy Rodriguez
Local organizations are taking part in a national community-building event for LGBT elders. Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) will partner with AARP for SAGE Table, during which members of the LGBT community participate in mealtime conversations May 18. 

“The conversation will be around shared experiences within the LGBT community and as an ally,” said Terri Clark, prevention-services coordinator for Action Wellness. “In our everyday conversations, we may be communicating about other things or not connecting at all. It’s a more intentional way to bring people together to establish community around shared needs, interests, advocacy, caregiving [and] history.”

Clark is organizing a SAGE Table event through the Southwest Senior Center. She plans to have at least five tables where participants can interact in small groups. 

“They come to the conversation with such great stories of their own growing up as LGBT community members or as allies in finding kindred spirits in the fight for equality and advocacy around oppression and discrimination,” Clark said of the Southwest Senior Center members. 

Clark said LGBT elders often need help with daily living, running errands and maintaining social ties. She hopes SAGE Table will bring light to these issues as individuals converse over mealtime.

“I think some of the issues that are unique for our LGBT older adults [include] that they are oftentimes more isolated,” Clark said. “They perceive aging services as not being friendly and welcoming in sharing their history of discrimination or the challenge in finding senior spaces or aging services that are friendly and welcoming.”

While the event is primarily focused on older LGBT people, Ed Miller hopes his table expands beyond that. Miller will host a table at William Way LGBT Community Center, where he serves as the senior programs coordinator. During his lunchtime event, Miller hopes for members of both the older and younger generations to attend.

“In my experience, when talking with seniors and the younger community, they have their opinions of what the other generation is about and most of the time, they’re on point but there are some things they don’t get right,” Miller said. “When you put the two generations together and allow a conversation, they find that they have a lot more things in common than they thought. It’s wonderful to see that experience and see the enlightenment that we get. It helps people to treat each other better, I think, if you put them in those environments.”

Miller noted the political climate among the reasons the LGBT community should attend a SAGE Table event. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity for LGBT people to get together and talk about what’s on their minds,” Miller said. “It’s a release.”

Visit https://sagetable.onetable.org/#/landing/pennsylvania to request a seat at SAGE Table events in Philadelphia and surrounding areas on May 18.

Read the original article online here.

Media Inquiries

Christina DaCosta
Assistant Director of Communications
917-553-3328
cdacosta@sageusa.org

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