A Day of Advocacy Decades in the Making

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The concerns of LGBTQ+ elders will soon be front and center as SAGE affiliates and members from coast to coast converge in Washington D.C.

Fifty years ago this coming June, LGBTQ+ elder pioneers started the fight for LGBTQ+ equality at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. As the nation nears the 50th anniversary of this watershed moment for the LGBTQ+ movement, SAGE and LGBTQ+ elders from across the country will gather in D.C. for SAGE’s first-ever National Day of Advocacy on March 13, 2019.

The Day of Advocacy will be held in conjunction with the annual SAGENet meeting, where SAGE affiliates gather to share ideas, participate in training sessions, and sharpen their advocacy skills. SAGENet affiliate leaders, SAGE constituents, and allies will speak directly with their senators and representatives about their needs as LGBTQ+ older people—just as newly elected officials are taking office. This is a chance for those constituents to say, for example, “I live in Alaska. I am an LGBTQ+ older person in your district, and here’s what’s important to me.”

There’s a lot to discuss, including the importance of protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The group will also prioritize talking to legislators about the Older Americans Act (OAA), which provides about $2 billion in national funding to states for essential supports like caregiver respite, transportation, and home meal delivery.

The relationships that are forged during this Day of Advocacy will work to help SAGE and its allies come together to pass the Equality Act, a national policy that aims to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and more.

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the founding of the modern-day LGBTQ+ rights movement, our elders will continue their advocacy, sending a loud and clear message to Congress that we will continue to fight relentlessly until all LGBTQ+ elders have equal protection under the law.

Sign up for SAGE’s National Day of Advocacy.
This article originally appeared in SAGEMatters, Fall 2018.