(EDGE) On Thursday, May 18, thousands of LGBT people and our allies across the country from all generations will meet to break bread in homes, workplaces, and community organizations. This is SAGE Table, where together, participants will explore what caring for one another will look like when age no longer divides us. Close to 200 events will be held throughout the nation. The goal is to build intergenerational connections that can make the LGBT community stronger for us all, with a special emphasis on elders and aging.
"SAGE Table is so important because it gives old and young LGBTQ people and their allies an easy and fun opportunity to do something rarely do — sit down and talk to each other. It's as simple and as powerful as that," said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. "And it turns out that people really want to do it — I've been blown away by the enthusiasm for SAGE Table coming not just from elders, but also from young people and people of all ages."
Members of the elder LGBT population are often on the front lines of discrimination. They are six times more likely to live near the poverty level than straight elders (largely because they are 3xs less likely to have children to care for them). Forty-eight percent of older same-sex couples face discrimination when applying for senior housing. And one in four transgender elders reports discrimination when seeking housing.
SAGE Table creates the opportunity for LGBT people to explore what caring for one another can look like when age no longer divides us. This conversation is especially important for LGBT elders who often face unique challenges. Together we can be stronger.
SAGE Table is produced by Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), the country's largest and oldest organization devoted to improving the lives of LGBT older adults, in partnership with AARP. Both advocacy groups are joining forces to address the diverse needs within the aging LGBT community. Our nation's growing number of elders continues to be overlooked and siloed from resources including our younger generations.
Now, even big stars are taking time to promote SAGE Table. See the video below, which features commentary from Lance Bass, Chaz Bono, Mario Cantone, Andy Cohen, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Light, Jane Lynch, Janet Mock, Sarah Paulson, Sia, Zachary Quinto, and Holland Taylor.
SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country.
And you can be a part of this national networking event, either by signing up to host an event, be it a potluck, pizza party or sit-down dinner. Or, you can sign up to attend a SAGE Table event, by browsing a list of events in your area and RSVPing to the host. After you're done, spread the word by letting your friends know why you're committed to creating change within the LGBT community.
Stay connected by making plans to have another meal together, or go to a Pride event. Take the SAGE Survey they'll send after your meal and let them know what you liked and what could be better. Then, join the movement and show the world what the LGBT community looks like when age no longer divides us. Connect with LGBT elders and consider contributing to SAGE to advance their important work.
"I hope that the thousands of people who will take part in SAGE Table on May 18 walk away feeling like they just received a gift because they've had the chance to make new friends, to close the generations gap, and to build a stronger and more caring community for themselves and others," said Adams. "And I hope they decide they don't want this to just happen at one meal — that they want to become part of the SAGE movement to build a community that works for people of all ages."
For more information or to find a SAGE Table event near you, visit http://www.sagetable.org/