By Tony Adams
On Sunday, September 22, 2019, SAGE South Florida will celebrate its 25th Anniversary Dinner
at the Pelican Grand in Fort Lauderdale.
Everyone worries from time to time about what life will be like for those of us fortunate enough to become an “eldergay.” Will it mean isolation and an inability to access needed services? Will it mean being without advocates and a supportive infrastructure? Will days be saddened by the absence of friends and family?
Those worries are allayed by vibrant SAGE South Florida (Senior Action in a Gay Environment) that’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founded in 1994, SAGE South Florida was a fledgling group of about 10 members, using New York’s group as its model. It now has over 300 very active members and serves Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
SAGE South Florida succeeds with its mission “to enrich the lives of the LGBT senior community. We accomplish this by sponsoring social alternatives providing personal interaction, offering educational opportunities to deal with the special needs of aging, and promoting contact with the isolated and homebound persons of our community.”
For 25 years, SAGE South Florida has fostered an array of enjoyable activities for its members. These include piano and vocal recitals, dinners, picnics, holiday parties, cruises, sporting events, Sunday brunches, and theater excursions. In short, all the experiences that no one should forfeit because of the needless restrictions of age.
The current president of SAGE South Florida, Patrick Vida, notes that many of their activities are held in the afternoon for the sake of those members who are disinclined to travel at night.
Kenneth Goodman, a past president of the group, talks about his fifteen years with SAGE South Florida, saying, “When I first joined, I was told that the bookkeeping and procedures in the office were in need of help. I became Office Manager and instituted procedures and financial spreadsheets that made the office run efficiently. Also, since my background was in data processing, I instituted the Computer Club. It still exists and is doing well. We moved over the years to many locations. When our offices moved to the Pride Center we ran the Club in one of the presentation rooms on the second floor. Now we are running “Windows 10 for Seniors” classes using an AARP-published book, and we are on our fourth cycle. I believe the opportunity to socialize and feel that you are part of a community with friends is what SAGE does best. As a 75 year-old senior myself, I appreciate that SAGE offers me a way to get out of the house and be with friends often in a place that is [LGBTQ] friendly. Socialization, rather than isolation, is what we get at SAGE.”
A quick glance at SAGE South Florida’s website shows just how active and vital the organization has become. There are regularly scheduled weekly events at The Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, including a men’s discussion group, a coed discussion group, and a computer club. There are regularly scheduled monthly events, including a luncheon called “Lunch and Learn,” a women’s luncheon, a book discussion at the Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale, a men’s night out, movie screenings, and a “Round Table.”
SAGE South Florida welcomes new members throughout the year. Membership in SAGE South Florida is open to anyone 18 years of age and older who subscribes to its mission and goals. You don’t need to be a senior to join. SAGE promotes inter-generational communication in the LGBTQ community.