Fighting for LGBTQ+ elders since 1978
For 40-plus years, SAGE has worked tirelessly on behalf of LGBTQ+ older people. Building off the momentum of the Stonewall uprising and the emerging LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, a group of activists came together to ensure that LGBTQ+ older people could age with respect and dignity. SAGE formed a network of support for LGBTQ+ elders that’s still going and growing today. SAGE is more than just an organization. It’s a movement of loving, caring activists dedicated to providing advocacy, services, and support to older members of the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ elders fought— and still fight—for our rights. And we will never stop fighting for theirs.
SAGE at the WorldPride Opening Concert
“SAGE creates family for elders in our community who need it,” says CEO Michael Adams. Watch Lujira, Barbara, and other SAGE participants share what SAGE means to them. We were honored to be named one of the beneficiaries of the WorldPride Opening Concert that took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, on June 26, 2019, where this video premiered.
MICHAEL ADAMS: Most LGBTQ+ elders are dealing with really significant challenges that are unique to our community. When people ask me, “What does SAGE do?” the simplest way to put it is that SAGE creates family for elders in our community who need it.
LUJIRA COOPER: I am Lujira Cooper. I volunteer at SAGE in the cyber center. I do a writing play shop. It’s a family. And since I have no family, it makes life fun to be able to go someplace and just be you, whoever that might be.
BARBARA POLICE: My name is Barbara Police. I’m with my organization SAGE for over 38 years. They were there when my Pat got sick. She got dementia. She had cancer three times. She fought like anything. Here was a woman who went all around the world. Climbed Mount Everest, scuba diving, shark hunting, and here she is, she can’t even get her shoes on.
LUJIRA COOPER: I went to Florida. it didn’t turn out right. My gut told me to take yourself back to New York. So then I was homeless for 10 months. Spent a lot of time at SAGE, like 5 days a week pretty much. Hanging out with my friends. Having dinner. I was able to finish my second book using the computers at the cyber center.
BARBARA POLICE: I remember the night. It was February 2nd. Pat died at 9:31 that night, and I came out and I said, “Now what do I do?” She was my strength, my love, my encouragement. Just everything. 9 o’clock the next morning, the bell rings, and who’s standing there? Good ol’ Tom from SAGE. They took care of everything. I take care of them, but they take care of me too.
PERSON 1: One of my favorite contingents in the Pride March is SAGE. People on the sidelines start yelling: “Thank you!” and “We love you!” and you just see people in tears as they go by. Because what they see is the possibility of a future.
LUJIRA COOPER: I keep thinking my sun’s always rising. Every time I face a new challenge, its a new sunrise.
BARBARA POLICE: It has been a long ride for me, but I’m 70 years old now, and whatever I can give back to this community, I am going to do it.
Demanding dignity and respect
SAGE is bringing our many years of experience to the political discussions of this new era in the struggle for the rights and dignity of all persons. I’m very excited for the future.