Your 2023 SAGE Wrapped Is Ready!
We hope everyone had a joyful holiday season and Happy New Year! As we welcome 2024, now is a perfect time to reflect on the past year and its milestones. Here at SAGE, 2023 was a truly incredible year.
In our biggest news, we launched two new divisions that are helping us boldly reimagine how we support our diverse LGBTQ+ elder community: SAGEServes, which focuses on providing high-quality, inclusive programs and services for LGBTQ+ elders in New York and replicated programs throughout the country; and SAGEVenture, which offers innovative programs, products, and offerings with forward-looking sustainable funding models.
Let’s look back at some other special moments from 2023 as we gear up for another year of supporting and advocating with and for our community of LGBTQ+ elders!
January: Early in the year, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul approved Assembly Bill A1880A, a law mandating training for home health aides and nurse’s aides who work with patients of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Soon after, Hochul announced her commitment to increasing LGBTQ+ elder housing throughout the Empire State. This included a pledge to instruct New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal to allocate financing exclusively for affordable housing developments that are LGBTQ-affirming for older New Yorkers. Hochul’s pledge built upon the work started by SAGE, BFC Partners, and HELP USA to create New York’s first LGBTQ+-welcoming elder housing developments.
February: SAGE highlighted several incredible Black HIV/AIDS and aging activists in honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and Black History Month. In their own words, they told us what HIV policy changes and care solutions they hope to see soon. We shared exclusive videos from Harold Phillips, the Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, Ronald S. Johnson, the chair of the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, and Waheedah Shabazz-El, the Director of Community Engagement for The Reunion Project.
March: While Women’s History Month is celebrated in March, SAGE strives to create content, resources, and programming year-round that supports the diverse, intersectional LGBTQ+ women who shaped our community. Across our New York SAGE Centers in March, we hosted community-building activities, support groups, and events curated for LGBTQ+ women. These programs include SAGE’s Trans Women’s Support Group, SAGE Center Harlem’s Women’s Support Group, and The L Group at SAGE Center Bronx at Crotona Pride House.
April: SAGE was granted accreditation and consultative status at the United Nations Open Ended Working Group on Ageing. Director of International Programs Hannah Yore represented SAGE before the UN General Assembly, delivering a joint statement on behalf of SAGE and our partner Outright International. SAGE, LGBTQ+ elders, and advocates from Costa Rica and El Salvador played a prominent role in this year’s UN Global Rally, calling for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Adults. SAGE also attended the ILGA-LAC Conference with our Central American partners and LGBTQ+ elders, presenting research findings from the LGBTI Elders Advancing Project.
May: SAGE and The Human Rights Campaign Foundation published the Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI) in to promote equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ older people in residential long-term care communities. The 2023 Index represents the first validated survey on LGBTQ+ inclusion in long-term care and elder housing communities. More than 200 communities from 34 states actively participated in the survey. We’re proud to share that 90% of participants have updated their non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity, a substantial improvement from last year’s 18%!
June: Pride Month this year was a time of celebration, reflection, and action. This year’s festivities also carried a renewed sense of urgency to organize, advocate, and resist discrimination, following in the footsteps of our elders who fought back during Stonewall and other uprisings across the country. With the flood of anti-trans legislation across the country showing no signs of slowing down, SAGE reaffirmed its commitment to showing up for the trans community, using our resources to help fight anti-trans bigotry, and providing opportunities for trans elders to share their stories.
July: SAGE marked Disability Pride Month in July with a series of infographics across our social media. The annual observance is a time to honor the achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community, as well as a time to learn how to be a better advocate for disability rights in the fight against ableism. Disability rights and aging rights are intrinsically linked; as we age, the vast majority of us will experience life with a disability. Take a look back at our July social media to learn more about how we can make the world a more accessible place for folks of all abilities.
August: SAGECents, our financial wellness app designed to empower LGBGQ+ elders to better manage their money, turned three this month! In the past year, 59% of SAGECents users reported that they reduced their overall debt since joining the app, with an average of nearly $600 saved per person! As one SAGECents user reported: “The app really helped me validate how I’m feeling and gave me a road map on how to get to where I want to go.”
September: SAGE hosted a community celebration and official grand opening of the SAGE Center Bronx at Crotona Pride House. To ring in the new era, SAGE unveiled a mural by queer Puerto Rican artist Karen “KayLove” Pedrosa. SAGE Center Bronx at Crotona Pride House is a state-of-the-art facility that provides a vibrant and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ elders and allies. It is a shining example of the work of SAGEServes,, which provides direct services at our five SAGE Centers and care management programs in New York City, programs designed to support LGBTQ+ elders across New York State, and programs designed for LGBTQ+ elders in Southern Florida.
October: October marked LGBTQ+ History Month, a time to honor the trailblazers of our community. SAGE celebrated across social media by highlighting some lesser known, but incredibly important LGBTQ+ history makers. On October 16, another trailblazer, SAGE constituent Criss Smith, gave a moving speech about his journey as a Black transgender man during our annual SAGE Awards & Gala. Over 700 attendees joined us to honor LGBTQ+ elders like Criss and celebrate our vibrant community. Laurie Peter received the Paula Ettelbrick Community Service Award and New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams received the inaugural John Wright Public Service Award. It was truly a night for the history books.
November: November 13-19 marked Transgender Awareness Week, an annual recognition of the bravery, vibrancy, and resilience of the transgender/non-binary (TGNB) community. Trans Awareness Week culminates at Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes the countless victims of transphobic violence. In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, SAGE highlighted four courageous and inspiring leaders of the TGNB rights movement with special graphics across our social media that honor their legacies. Check out our Facebook to read their stories.
December: In December, the American Society on Aging (ASA) released a special edition of its Generations Journal that was curated by SAGE and co-edited by SAGE CEO Michal Adams. The theme of this edition was ageism and its intersections with other forms of systematic discrimination, such as ableism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and more. The Journal is a fantastic read for anyone who is invested in breaking down the barriers to aging resources that are faced by many communities. In addition to a feature by Adams on the roots of ableism and ageism, the Journal included articles written by SAGE staffers Kylie Madhav, Terri L. Wilder, and Josh Dubensky.
These stories are just a sampling of all the amazing accomplishments we celebrated in 2023! To learn more about our past year – and to stay up-to-date on what’s new at SAGE – please visit our website and follow us on social media.
Thank you to everyone who made this year such a memorable one! To our SAGE staff, board, volunteers, community members, and beyond, we wish you a warm and happy New Year. Let’s make 2024 a great year together!