Posted on September 12, 2023
With funding from CREDO, SAGE continues to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ older people.
It’s not easy growing old – and it’s a lot harder when you’re a target for hate simply for being who you are. This is the place where LGBTQ+ elders find themselves: dealing not only with the stresses of aging, but also with an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
In June, the Human Rights Campaign declared its first-ever state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, “following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults.”
But CREDO is fighting back. In January, CREDO customers and community members voted to donate to assist SAGE in its work to ensure that all LGBTQ+ elders have the rights, freedoms, and everyday support they need to thrive, not just survive.
Backed by its CREDO donation, SAGE has won pivotal victories that will make a real difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ older people.
This year, SAGE has achieved a number of critical wins for those elders whose resilience and determination to be their authentic selves have paved the way for all LGBTQ+ Americans.
- For the first time since 1988, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) began the process to update the regulations that govern the implementation of the Older Americans Act (OAA), the country’s primary funding mechanism for aging services that allow older people to age in community without having to enter long-term care. SAGE facilitated the delivery of 300 comments on the proposed regulations that pushed ACL to make the final rule LGBTQ+ and HIV inclusive. Over 70 LGBTQ+ and aging specific organizations signed on to SAGE’s organizational comment.
- In May, SAGE released and circulated the 2023 Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI). A joint production of SAGE and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the LEI is the first national assessment tool for LGBTQ+ inclusion in elder housing and long-term care communities. It helps those communities implement, strengthen, and innovate their LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts and promotes equitable, inclusive care for LGBTQ+ older adults in residential long-term care and elder housing. This year’s LEI includes the first validated survey on LGBTQ+ inclusion in long-term care and elder housing.
- SAGE expanded SAGECollab to better support older adults nationally and gain further reach to communities of color, and to rural, Black, and Indigenous communities. SAGECollab is a network of diverse organizations that partner with SAGE toward the common goal of supporting LGBTQ+ older people in their communities and advocating for LGBTQ+ aging policies across the U.S.
SAGE is always working on new ways to support LGBTQ+ elders and advocate for their rights. Since it received its CREDO grant, SAGE has made progress on a variety of programs. Primarily, it has strengthened its strategic plan, which aims to support LGBTQ+ elders through a robust range of efforts, including expansion of its reach nationwide and extension of its existing programs and services in New York. Initiatives include:
- Shaping public policies on aging so that they recognize LGBTQ+ older people’s needs and assist in creating welcoming communities.
- Engaging across generations and finding ways to connect younger and older generations of LGBTQ+ people to increase visibility and feelings of belonging.
- Helping LGBTQ+ older adults address their vulnerabilities by providing direct services.
Guided by the inclusivity woven throughout its strategic plan, SAGE is developing a new, flexible collaboration model that will deepen its impact with organizations centered on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) communities by transferring resources and power. For example, earlier this year SAGE made grants to six inaugural recipients from its recently launched Equity Innovation Lab. The program gives microgrants to support community-based initiatives and entrepreneurial projects that help Black, Indigenous and elders of color, transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary elders, and rural elders.