Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Old Is New Again ....

It often seems like the movement for LGBT equality is composed of nothing but middle-aged folks and youngsters.

While youth culture is a critical component of the steady, progressive march towards fairness, we wouldn't be where we are today without the work of our elders and predecessors.

(And presumably/hopefully, we're all eventually going to end up as part of the older segment of the community!)

Back in October, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of a national resource center for LGBT elders. Last week, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) announced that the DHSS Administration on Aging had awarded them the funds.

SAGE is the oldest and largest organization serving LGBT older adults. SAGE will be awarded $900,000 over three years and will partner with other organizations to create, among other tools, a comprehensive web-based clearinghouse on LGBT aging issues.

The National Technical Assistance Resource Center for LGBT Elders will assist communities across the country in their efforts to provide services and supports for older LGBT people. The Resource Center will provide training to aging service providers and LGBT agencies nationwide, and will offer critically important educational tools to LGBT older people.

SAGE will partner with 10 organizations with expertise in a wide range of areas including mainstream aging, LGBT aging, culture change, and competency and program evaluation, including:
  • PHI (a national training expert)
  • The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
  • The National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers
  • The American Society on Aging
  • The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity
  • Centerlink (the national association of LGBT community centers)
  • GRIOT Circle
  • FORGE Transgender Aging Network
  • Third Sector New England/The LGBT Aging Project
  • openhouse
"The Resource Center will seek to engage, empower, and support mainstream aging providers, LGBT providers and LGBT older adults to ensure that LGBT elders have the necessary and culturally appropriate supports and services to successfully age in place."

SAGE plans to develop their web-based clearinghouse to serve all three audiences. The clearinghouse will include diverse resources, social networking tools, an “Ask the Experts” service, and web-based trainings.

We'll never get where we're going unless we remember where we came from, and cherish those who got us there. It'll take all of us, young and old, to win our cause in support of freedom, families, and fairness.

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