First Comprehensive LGBT Senior Center Opens
Yesterday New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) and the New York City Department for the Aging awarded the Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) a contract to open the first full-time center for lesbians, gays, and bisexual seniors in the country. Mayor Bloomberg stated, "The needs of seniors have evolved since centers were created 50 years ago and now is the time to re-envision the one-size-fits-all approach that has traditionally shaped many of our centers."
Catherine Thurston, senior director of programming at SAGE, described the need for the new facility: "For elderly people who are also LGBT, going to a traditional senior center can pose a variety of unique challenges. Many LGBT elderly say they feel they've encountered discrimination, anything from simply feeling excluded to something more overt...If you cannot authentically be who you are at this stage of your life, it's really tragic."
In September, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill requiring that New York Office of the Aging (NYSOFA) evaluate the needs of underserved seniors in the state, including LGBT adults. The center, located in Manhattan, will be able to serve approximately 300 people per day and provide 130 meals per day.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 10/19/11; SAGE Statement 9/29/11