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LGBT Atlantans organize to face challenges of aging

Many challenges face Atlanta's LGBT elder community

Editor's Note: This story was published in October. On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, the Atlanta premier of the film “Gen Silent” screens as the first fundraiser for SAGE Atlanta, which provides support and social opportunities for LGBT elders. Tickets are $10 and the movie begins at 7:30 p.m. at Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308. Visit SAGE Atlanta at www.facebook.com/sageatl.

It’s a recent Thursday morning and five women and one man are sitting around a table at the Phillip Rush Center in Candler Park, playing a derivation of Canasta called Hand and Foot. The game is quick-paced as the players lay one card down after another.

The players are members of the newly formed Atlanta chapter of SAGE USA, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders. SAGE Atlanta meets every Thursday starting at 10 a.m. for cards and social hour with programming beginning at 11 a.m.

Ages of those seated around the table range from 60 to 74. All are active, able to drive and live fairly comfortably. But all also seek companionship with older people who are like themselves.

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Community forum to explore aging in city’s gay community

Phillip Rush and Doug Carl

As Atlanta’s LGBT population continues to grow, resources are needed to fulfill their needs.

That’s why a group of local activists has been working for several years to identify these needs. The national Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE) recently formed an affiliate in the city.

“About eight years ago, the Atlanta Regional Commission began a strategic plan for the city that included GLBT elders,” said Doug Carl, 49, who retired last year from his job as deputy director of the Fulton County Human Services Department.

Carl participated in the ARC strategy sessions and led the charge for Atlanta to become a SAGE affiliate.

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Elderly Calif. gay man sues over separation from partner

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is suing Sonoma County, Calif., on behalf of an elderly gay man who alleges the county separated him and his partner of 20 years after his partner injured himself. His partner later died.