SAGE Shut Down Their Gay Center Room! Controversy!

Categories: Gaaaaayyyyyy

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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!

Sincerely,

Christopher Bilcik"


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


Michael Adams
Executive Director
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?



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11 comments
Jerrynyc130
Jerrynyc130

BTW Rebecca...do those huge amazing new things going on at the senior center include the slashing of counciling services and laying off of a large portion of the social worker staff...like long term social workers David Donolfo and John Genghe who so many of us have counted on for support on countles senior issues for MANY YEARS!.....but I am very enthused about some of the new amazing services like Zumba classes-Language Lesson-Yogi Lessons-Arts and crafts-creative writing-etc.

Jerrynyc130
Jerrynyc130

Rebecca with all due respect I really resent your extremely patronozing attituid to all this..You really can't understand how we feel or the importance for gay seniors having a space at the general LGBT Center...You work for Sage but you are not gay and have not spent many years interacting with friends at that drop in room..And to correct some of your points...we know there is a major renovation at the center...we are NOT asking to keep the current drop room on the first flooor...we merely want A ROOM...anywhere in the building..if you were more familiar with the building you would know there are countless rooms that get no use and are empty each day during the drop in room hours..I also dissagree that it is purely a financial issue...because that iis exactly what it is...the bottom line..MONEY! ...Again I have no problem with the great things going on at thee new Senior Center...but a Senior Center is NOT an LGBT Community Center...and to be removed from our presence and connection to that center is outrageous/insulting and totally UNACCEPTABLE! Jerry Hoose

Jerrynyc130
Jerrynyc130

The meeting we are demanding wiill be held this Tuesday June 12 starting at 3PM in the Sage Room at the LGBT Center...this is not a war against the great things being developed at the new Sage Senior Center..the issue is ,maintaing Sage as an integral part of the general LGBT community...I am a gay man first..a senior gay man second...my presence as part of the community as a whole is the issue...to many of us..At 4PM Tuesday we will finally be heard by The powers that be of Sage and the Center//Glenda Testone and Micheal Adams..I urge everyone who feels strongly about this issue to attend the 3PM pre meeting and the 4PM general meeting..As a fighhter for our rights since Stoneewall and a lifelong activist it saddens me that this should even be an issue at this point in time..For more information you can check out a message board I set up at http://wwwjerrynyc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general Jerry Hoose(Fighter at Stonewall/One of the original founders of Gay Liberation Front 1969/member of the commitee that put on the first march1970..lifelong activist)

Jerrynyc130
Jerrynyc130

Unceremoniously during the upcoming renovation at Manhattan's ONLY LGBT Community Center, the Sage drop-in room is being removed…supposedly because at this point in time Sage is suffering great financial distress and cannot pay the necessary rent to maintain a room there. This is not just outrageous and insulting to the MANY gay seniors who count on that meeting place almost entirely for their social life and long-term friendships...IT IS UNACCEPTABLE! For more than 20 years, Sage and the drop-in room has been an integral part of and support to the successes of the LGBT Center. That some sort of an accommodation cannot be reached, by the powers that be at the Center and Sage, to continue having a small drop-in room somewhere at The Center...and a financial break be given to Sage on rent for the time being until ways to raise funds to support our continued presence can be worked out is UNACCEPTABLE...and the many Sage loyalists who are being thrown under the bus and out on the street must determine that this is a fight to be fought and won. We owe it to the Sage people who have support this drop-in, volunteered and maintained long-term friendships there for as much as 20 years or more. For more than 20 years, Sage has faithfully paid their rent and leased our room but now that there is a financial crunch the "LGBT" Center is kicking us out because of MONEY! Is that what the "Gay Community" is now? Just another greedy landlord looking at the bottom line? There are dozens of rooms in that center. Without a doubt, during the renovations there will be empty rooms sitting there during the drop in hours from 12:30 until 4:30...while countless older gays will be deprived of a social situation they have come to count on as a daily lifeline to friends and interaction. We are DEMANDING a meeting of the real powers that be from the Center and Sage along with the real loyal Sage members who HAVE NOT BEEN HEARD FROM up until now. This is a fight that must be fought, and no stone left unturned in the battle, including getting the media and politicians involved, if need be. The Sage community is looking for a small room anywhere in the center to move our couches and chairs to a table where we will put our coffee pot, and a financial accommodation as to rent until we can improve our money raising effort to afford to pay for our space there as we always have. If that is too much to ask for from the LGBT Community that we seniors have been intergally involved in creating, then SHAME on the whole concept of a "GAY COMMUNITY" because it becomes a false empty play on words. THE FIGHT STARTS NOW. The ball started rolling today. Stay alert and vigilant as to where it goes from here. If the term "Power to the People" ever really meant anything..this is that time.Thanks for your attention and please get involved before we lose our spaceJerry Hoose Read more: http://wwwjerrynyc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=2#ixzz1xJ338ye

VonD
VonD

They won't be near all the cute twinks, bears, leatherdykes, questioning queers, and everyone else who drops into the LGBTIQ Center on 13th Street, that's the problem!

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

 yes, and my job was important to me, yet I got "pushed" out...and I'm not a young'un...welcome to the 20-ten's.

Gail Brown
Gail Brown

Sorry so many are feeling the great loss of the former space. He neglected to say the LGBT Center is undergoing major renovations.  Besides that SAGE's lovely Senior Center The SAGE Center is less than a mile away. Come up and see us some time.  Great things are happening! By the way SAGE Harlem was opened more than five years ago.

rebecca heisler
rebecca heisler

I actually work for SAGE at this amazing new senior center, and it is so upsetting that our seniors are feeling this pain and anguish. It also isn't purely a financial issue; the LGBT center has decided to renovate their first floor, so that space would be eliminated regardless of our situation. It's awful, and sad...but as our ED has said, we're doing huge things for the community, it will just take some time for everyone to adjust. Naturally, our participants don't know exactly what is discussed at staff meetings, etc. so this man's understandably emotional letter isn't entirely accurate. Nonetheless, we hope that people will start to make the trek uptown to 27th street, where we have an amazing program going on.

Phil Davis
Phil Davis

And it has the added benefit that the young gays won't have to look at us wrinkly old guys any more.  

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Yes, it's a tough call, but the room moved, it's not gone...sounds like a clique is being broken up, you know, "we ruled this room"...the coffee and doughnuts thing? Meh. The perks are the first to disappear.

Christopher
Christopher

Sounds like people who don't like chnage. Also the LGBT Center is gearing up for a major remodel and ADA code compliance. Seems like a good time to find a permanent space just like SAGE did.

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