(EDGE) On November 8, in more than 150 locations across the U.S. and the globe, thousands of LGBT people and allies gathered as part of the intergenerational LGBT initiative, SAGE Table.
The event â€” which had a successful debut last year with the help of many high-profile stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Zach Quinto and Sarah Paulson â€” was created to address the prevailing challenge of loneliness for older LGBT people as they age. SAGE Table encourages younger and older LGBT people and allies to come together on the same day, share a meal, and build lasting connections to help LGBT elders thrive.
"We're so proud to celebrate another successful SAGE Table event, and to see such an incredible amount of enthusiasm from people across the country and beyond, to build and strengthen relationships between younger and older LGBT generations," said SAGE CEO Michael Adams.
"Loneliness and social isolation threaten everyone as we age â€” but they're more likely to be problems for LGBT older people, who are twice as likely to grow old single and living alone and four times less likely to have children to support them," Adams continued. "We have the power to change the impact of these statistics through the power of connection, which can begin at SAGE Table."
SAGE Table was championed in Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City this year by SAGE Table's 2018 National Host Committee, which was co-chaired by Harvey Abrams and Anthony Sis.
"As a senior myself, I am drawn to SAGE's mission of improving the lives of LGBT elders," said co-chair Harvey Abrams. "It was a gratifying experience to witness people of all ages working together for a common cause, from people in their twenties to people close to 80. While the immediate success of SAGE Table can be counted by the number of participants and the excitement generated at each of these events, its ultimate success will depend on its growth from a small grassroots moment to a dynamic, national movement where people are working toward solving the issues facing LGBT elders."
This year's event stretched beyond the U.S., with SAGE Table events happening across the globe in Canada, France, the U.K., Peru, and Burundi.
"It made me so happy and proud to see this diverse LGBT group communicate excitedly over dinner and drink, exchange experiences and eventually Instagram accounts and phone numbers," said Tarrah von Lintel, an LA-based member of the National Host Committee. "I saw some of the older participants provide answers, contacts and solutions to problems faced by the younger crowd. The younger generations brought vigor, hope, and enthusiasm. These gatherings are vital to facilitate friendships and mentorships."
After this year's success, SAGE will be launching a yearlong series of actions to transform SAGE Table from a one-day event into an ongoing series of activities, as well as volunteer opportunities.