May is Older Americans Month. It’s also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. As the National Coordinator of the Diverse Elders Coalition, I am honored to work alongside many diverse aging advocates, including leaders in the field of AAPI aging.
Partnering with our member organizations, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC), I have become very intimate with the daily realities of AAPI elders and their loved ones. I’ve learned many lessons along the way, such as the silence of AAPI elders who identify as LGBT, to why the “model minority” myth is damaging to the AAPI elder community.
You won’t believe what I learned from our black elders (Black History Month)
In honor of Black History Month, the Diverse Elders Coalition is featuring stories relevant to black aging during February. A new story will be shared every Wednesday, with additional posts shared throughout the month. Be sure to visit diverseelders.org regularly during the month of February.
My father is my source of strength and love. He is an Afro-Latino older adult and much of the reason why I became an aging advocate. He supported me as a gay boy finding my way in a, sometimes, intolerant world and now he is aging in a society where we don’t often take into account the unique challenges faced by diverse older adults.
As an aging advocate, I know the power that stories have.... Read More
The Puzzle that is Obamacare. Explained in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean & Vietnamese
Understanding the new Health Insurance Marketplace can feel a lot like piecing together a puzzle. Despite the setbacks, the Marketplace is up and running. For community groups and advocates, it’s time to help our communities shop for health coverage that fits their many needs. For older adults, it’s time to get covered.
To make it simple, the Diverse Elders Coalition has created a simple flyer, “Why the ACA Matters to Our Communities,” which offers step-by-step instructions for enrolling in the Marketplace, as well as a rationale for the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as the ACA or Obamacare) and older people of color, LGBT older people and older immigrants. It’s available in English, Spanish, Read More
Give Your Medicare Part D Coverage an Annual Checkup
October is an important month for adults needing to secure insurance coverage. Not only is October 1st open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace, but October 15th is the beginning of the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment period. Once enrolled in a prescription drug plan, it’s easy to forget the importance of checking annually to make sure your current plan is the most appropriate and cost effective.
The lack of in-language assistance available to Asian American and Pacific Islander elders makes it challenging for many to.... Read More
Untold stories of Asian & Pacific Islander LGBT Elders: “I think the need to be accepted overcame their need to be themselves.”
Well, for me, it made me really think: What are the stories being told about older LGBT AAPI people? Are they even being told? Outside of the amazing George Takei, I can’t think of another prominent openly gay Asian American older person. Can you?
I am Puerto Rican, gay and not yet 30 years old, so.... Read More
Infographic: LGBT Health, Racial Disparities, and Aging—by the Numbers
Americans who are people of color, older adults and LGBT identified (referred to in this blog post as LGBT elders of color) often have unique needs because of the intersections of identities. LGBT elders of color are historically marginalized on multiple fronts and their needs are often under addressed in the mainstream aging field and in the popular LGBT rights movement.
StoryCorps: A Transgender Woman’s Journey from Hiding to “Walking in Love”
Alexis Martinez grew up in a rough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side in the early 1960s. She knew she was transgender from an early age.Alexis (whose birth name is Arthur) struggled with her identity, as did her family. At 13, she came out as transgender to her mother. Alexis’ mother called the police, who laughed and told her, “You’ve got a fag for a son, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
As a result, Alexis joined a gang and “went as macho as [she] could be, to mask what [she] really was underneath.”
Alexis has a daughter, who accepts her for who she is. Says her daughter Lesley: “You don’t have to apologize. You don’t have to tiptoe..... Read More
A Gay Son and His Dad: “Why I am an Aging Advocate”
There was a time in my life, around 11 years old, when I often skipped school because I was being bullied and harassed. It was obvious to my classmates that I was “different” and they targeted me because of it. At lunch, there was a boys table and a girls table, but I was relegated to the “other” table.
I hated waking up for school. Sometimes I would put my head over the toaster to create a “fever” and ask my mother if I could stay home. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Those days that it didn’t, I would put on my uniform, grab my lunch and deliberately slam the front door.... Read More
HIV/AIDS is Still an Issue for Older Gay Black Men
I grew up during the civil rights movement, seeing powerful black activists around me fight for our civil rights as a people. I also grew up during the Stonewall Riots, feeling the hostility society.... Read More
Honoring MLK Day of Service: How One Volunteer Gives Back to Her Community
January 21, 2013 will mark the official Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Service, empowering individuals and communities to come together and volunteer their time to get involved and give back. Americans are encouraged to help out where they can, whether it’s serving food at a soup kitchen or organizing a clothing drive for those in need. Together, we can begin to create solutions to social problems, moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
Shelly Montrose, an older African American lesbian from Harlem started giving back because of her friend. Read her story here.
Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is working on our next strategic plan to help guide the organization for the next few years, and we need your help. SAGE has a long history of listening to the many audiences we work with, and we would like to hear your thoughts on our work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.
10 Considerations for Working with the Diversity of Older LGBT Latinos
Effective outreach begins with a plan and developing a plan requires research. Yet, anyone trying to develop an outreach plan for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Latinos can quickly feel as if he or she is hitting one brick wall after another—there is simply a lack of resources dedicated to this community. Sure, you may be able to find strategies on how-to engage seniors, LGBT youth or the Latino population at large, but these strategies do not speak to the unique experiences and challenges faced by older LGBT Latinos.
For those of you whose organizations are trying to better engage this community, you may simply need a place to start. You may wonder, “What are the most effective.... Read More
Looking to Harlem – Creating a Safe Space for the Older Black LGBT Community
Harlem is undoubtedly one of the most well-known African-American neighborhoods in NYC and the nation. Part of its rich history includes the Harlem Renaissance, a literary movement celebrating black cultural identity in the 1920s and 30’s. It is also home to the Apollo Theatre, a cultural landmark that has hosted influential black icons and leaders such as President Barack Obama, Chaka Khan and Michael Jackson. What might not be as well-known, however, is that there are a number of local black and gay-owned businesses in the community such as Harlem Flo and Billie’s Black, showcasing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people exist in Harlem.
There is also a significant aging community. One in three Harlem residents are age 50.... Read More