Here’s an anguished email I got from someone who’s enjoyed the services of SAGE, the organization for gay elders. (I’ll follow it with SAGE’s response.)
“Picture this: About a month and a half ago, we gay seniors that belong to the gay senior group SAGE at the Gay Community Center on 13th street were told like a bolt from the blue, ‘SAGE is broke and we can’t keep the SAGE drop-in room open anymore; and by the way, we are closing the room on Gay Pride Day!’
“Ain’t that some shit!
“According to SAGE ‘powers that be,’ they are too broke to pay the rent/space from the Gay Community Center anymore (despite the fact they just recently opened a SAGE Office Space on 28th and 7th Ave and recently opened up a SAGE Center up in Harlem).
“The SAGE drop-in room is on the first floor of the Gay Community Center. It’s an old, homo-ie style room: pictures, paintings, plants, sofas, and chairs. For many of the gay seniors (men, women, trans, bi), the age group runs from the 40s to early 80s. From 1PM till after 4:30, we make coffee and donuts and shoot the breeze. For many of the seniors, this is their only outlet to socialize with their gay peers. Some of us have been coming to this room for nearly 20 years.
“Now, the Mother-Fuckers are closing this room: ‘Oh, we’ll throw maybe a few extra chairs at the 28th Street place; but no coffee or donuts, we’re too broke for that too!’
“We are outraged! We are saddened by this ‘knife in the back’ routine and are grasping straws for someone to help us. This is the greatest city in the world!? This is how SAGE and the Gay Community Center (who could give a reduced rent for the LGBT seniors) treat the men and women who fought for gay rights at Stonewall? Bullshit!
And now, the response:
“SAGE just opened a brand new center for LGBT seniors right up the street from the LGBT Community Center. It’s a great place for LGBT older people to be with friends and take advantage of all kinds of programs–more than 600 elders have already registered to use the SAGE Center.
“The other thing that is happening is that SAGE is gearing up over the next couple of months to open first-ever program sites in every borough. Right now, LGBT elders in most parts of NYC have no dedicated services anywhere in their borough. We’re using some of our limited resources to change that, by opening up these new borough program sites.
“Given the location of the SAGE Center right up the street from the LGBT Community Center, the fact that we need to serve LGBT elders all across the city and not just in lower Manhattan, and the the fact that our resources aren’t limitless, it no longer makes sense for SAGE to keep the drop-in room open. SAGE will continue to have a range of activities and programs at the LGBT Center on W. 13th Street. In fact, we’re building a number of new program collaborations with the LGBT Center. There is no question that SAGE and our constituents will continue to have a strong presence at the LGBT Center.
“Having said all this, we know that change is hard. We’re committed to working with the SAGE constituents who have used the drop-in room through this transition.
“Please let me know if you have any more questions.
Best wishes, Michael
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)”
I just hope this resolves favorably for all the eldergays because they’re treasured members of the community and should be treated like gold.
Why you lookin’ at me?