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Seniors' Resources  
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Aging can be a challenging enough experience for mainstream populations, but older members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and community face the additional difficulty of locating culturally competent services.

Fortunately, as the aging population has grown, more organizations have emerged that are dedicated to providing much-needed services and information, along with socialization and activism opportunities, to glbtq senior citizens. These groups can help provide a sense of safety and empowerment for sexual minority elders--something not always present in mainstream seniors' organizations.

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The largest and best known of glbtq senior organizations is Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE, formerly the acronym for Senior Action in a Gay Environment). Since 1977, SAGE has addressed the needs of glbtq older adults in all five boroughs of New York City through its drop-in center in the West Village and a comprehensive array of services and activities.

These services and activities include educational and recreational events, case management and counseling, HIV prevention outreach, lesbian-specific projects, advocacy for glbtq seniors in long-term care facilities, supportive housing initiative efforts, and sensitivity training. SAGE partners with other New York City agencies to provide services to people in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

But SAGE's work is not limited to New York City. SAGE-Net, an international network of affiliates who share a common mission, was founded by SAGE to share information and services worldwide. SAGE-Net affiliates are located in several states throughout the U.S., including Florida, Nebraska, upstate New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, as well as in Canada and Germany.

Informational and Online Resources

Several organizations, such as the Gay and Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons, Inc. (GLARP), provide informational and educational resources for glbtq elders. GLARP, a non-profit based in Los Angeles, is dedicated to developing and operating glbtq-friendly retirement communities and to promote education about aging. Some of the retirement communities GLARP lists on its website, such as Palms of Manasota in Sarasota, Florida; RainbowVisions in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and The Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Fort Myers, Florida have been in operation for several years, and further developments are planned in other cities, including Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

In addition to its development work, GLARP also seeks to enhance the aging experience of glbtq people via education on senior issues relevant to the queer community.

Based in New York City and closely aligned with SAGE, Pride Senior Network is another non-profit serving glbtq elders. PSN is an advocacy and educational organization, established in 1995. It publishes a quarterly newspaper for the older glbtq community as well as a comprehensive online directory of queer and queer-friendly service providers. It also coordinates training and advocacy efforts.

Though geared toward professionals in the field of aging, the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network (LGAIN) can provide useful information to elders themselves too. LGAIN is a constituency group of the American Society on Aging, a membership association of professionals. LGAIN membership facilitates access to web resources, including a member directory, a regularly published newsletter on glbtq aging, networking opportunities, and conferences.

The Transgender Aging Network (TAN) is a critical resource for older members of the trans community, along with their allies. As a part of For Ourselves: Reworking Gender Expression (FORGE), a national support, advocacy, and educational organization, TAN promotes awareness of trans aging issues, advocates for policy changes, and helps transgender elders and their allies exchange ideas and information via an online support group. It has issued numerous publications and offers occasional training sessions and workshops.

Political and Advocacy Groups

Several groups for glbtq elders are centered around activism and hands-on advocacy. For example, the Aging Initiative, a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, advocates for and with seniors on the state and federal level, and strives to raise consciousness about aging within both mainstream society and glbtq communities.

In 2000, NGLTF issued a public policy report entitled Outing Age: Public Policy Issues Affecting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders, and in cooperation with LGAIN, it has worked to compile research on glbtq elders. The Aging Initiative is also involved in training and networking activities, as well as publishing and distributing information about this population.

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