[New York, NY] SAGE, the world’s largest organization for LGBTQ+ elders and older New Yorkers living with HIV, celebrates the New York City Council’s passage of Int. 564, championed by Council Member Tiffany Cabán and Council Member Crystal Hudson, the co-chairs of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus of the New York City Council.
Aging alone can be wrought with challenges, including social isolation and diminished income. For LGBTQIA+ older people, however – many of whom have experienced stigma and discrimination throughout their lives as a direct result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity – the deck is stacked against them. LGBTQIA+ elders and older people living with HIV face disproportionate rates of discrimination and poverty, including a shared history of community trauma involving both interpersonal and systemic discrimination. This has impacted LGBTQIA+ elders in a myriad of ways around disparate health outcomes and unequal access to services.
This bill to create a commission on LGBTQIA+ older adults within the NYC Department for the Aging aims to directly address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ elders and build off the progress led by NYC Aging and the New York City Council to ensure all older New Yorkers have access to the safe, affirming, and culturally competent services they need to successfully age in place.
“Our City’s LGBTQ+ elders and older New Yorkers living with HIV have always been at the forefront of the movement for LGBTQ+ equality and justice. The establishment of a commission dedicated to addressing the unique needs of this community will help ensure that these history-makers have equitable access to the services they need to age with dignity and respect. SAGE applauds Council Members Cabán and Hudson for their tireless advocacy on behalf of LGBTQIA+ elders and looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with NYC Aging and Commissioner Cortés-Vázquez,” said Darcy Connors, Executive Director of SAGEServes, the direct services division of SAGE.
“Partly to honor those of the Stonewall Generation who are no longer with us, the movement for queer liberation must support our elders, before they become our ancestors. Queer elders deserve to live and grow old with dignity, with comfort, with joy, with family, and with love, but with something else as well: stewardship of our culture. And we deserve to be in rich community with our elders, so that they are able to pass along their stories and teachings, to help us build a society where we are all free to be who we are. This legislation, which will help our city improve the quality of life of LGBTQIA+ older adults, would not have been possible with the tireless advocacy of SAGE and other steadfast organizations,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán, Chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equity.
“Int. 564 represents tangible progress in the way our city cares for our LGBTQIA+ older neighbors. Establishing a group where experts can identify the challenges facing our queer elders, voice their concerns, and put forth meaningful solutions to meet these material needs, is a vital step toward closing the gap in services and resources offered to queer folks across the five boroughs. This legislation also makes clear our mandate to guarantee our city can truly be a lifelong home for all people: a place where aging in place is the norm, not the exception,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Chair of the Committee on Aging.
Once signed into law, seats on this commission will be filled by LGBTQIA+ older New Yorkers, LGBTQIA+ aging advocacy groups, community-based healthcare organizations, HIV and AIDS service providers, trans-led advocacy organizations, labor organizations, disability services, and organizations that serve Black, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and Latinx LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers, as well as appointments by the Commissioner of NYC Aging. Together, this group will be tasked with investigating, analyzing, and reporting on the health, housing, financial, social, home –and community-based services, assisted living, and long-term care needs of LGBTQIA+ older adults and older New Yorkers living with HIV.
SAGE is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ+) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. Learn more at sageusa.org.