Lindsey Horvath believes in West Hollywood's aging community. At 29, the is the youngest person to ever serve on the board of directors for SAGE, a New York-based group advocating on behalf of LGBT elders.
"During my tenure as a West Hollywood City Councilmember, I learned a great deal about the challenges facing the aging population in general and the LGBT population in particular," Horvath told Patch. "I want to know that everyone will receive the care they need and deserve as they age, care that is sensitive to and inclusive of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders) was founded in 1978 to address the unique needs of LGBT older adults through direct service and provision, along with coalition building and advocacy at the local, state and federal levels.
“Lindsey is an easy and natural fit, given her commitment and experience as an ally of the LGBT community," said SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams. "We are delighted that she has accepted our offer to serve on our Board."
SAGE has pioneered a number of programs and services for LGBT older adults, including the nation’s first Friendly Visiting program for frail and homebound LGBT older adults, as well as the country's first support group for LGBT older adults with HIV. And in 2005, SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at the White House Conference on Aging.
“The current generation of LGBT older people faces particular challenges,” Adams said. “They have very thin support networks, because they are far less likely than most elders to have children, be partnered, or be connected to their families of origin.”
Although there is no government data on LGBT elders, UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and the Law estimates that 4.1 percent of American adults identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, whether they are open or closeted in larger society. The institute estimates that LGBT people ages 65 or older number 1.5 million today and will grow to nearly 3 million by 2030.
“For too long, the issue of aging in the LGBT community has been marginalized as something that only the most elderly need to think about,” said Adams. “The reality is different—we are all aging, and our community members and allies of all ages need to be investing in solutions."
In January 2012, SAGE will take another historic step by opening the nation’s first full-time center for LGBT older adults. Made possible by an Innovative Senior Center (ISC) contract, the center will include program sites in all five New York City boroughs.