Chicago Methodist Senior Services joins SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBTQ Elders) in celebrating LGBTQ History Month. Since bringing West Suburban Senior Services’ SAGE program in Bellwood into the CMSS family, CMSS has intensified its efforts to understand and support LGBTQ older adults. CMSS partnered with SAGE last fall to go through the SAGECare training.
This in-person learning experience taught employees across each community how to better understand the cultures, needs, and concerns of LGBTQ+ older adults. CMSS earned the Platinum SAGECare credential, the highest level a nonprofit can achieve, because over 80 percent of our employees, executives and administrators attended the training.
This month as we celebrate LGBTQ History Month, SAGE reminds us that “history isn’t just lived, it is made.” The executive director of West Suburban Senior Services, Eric Eugenio-Vironet, explains what this phrase means to him as he reflects on his time working with LGBTQ older adults in WSSS’ SAGE program.
“When I saw this phrase being used for SAGE’s celebrations of LGBT History Month, I immediately thought of our SAGE program participants and their fierce bravery in advancing LGBTQ equality in the face of years of oppression and the impact each of their lives have had on making our nation a better place for LGBTQ people.”
Eric goes on to recall the 2013 March on Springfield for marriage 3quality and the opportunity he had to participate in the march with LGBTQ elders.
“I accompanied several participants of WSSS’ LGBTQ Seniors Program to the March on Springfield in a bus from Holy Covenant Church in Brookfield arranged by Equality Illinois. It was an amazing day of activism and solidarity with several thousand gathering outside the General Assembly to make their voices heard and to go throughout the capital building to visit their state legislators. I was fortunate to be able to see this through the eyes of LGBTQ older adults who have been in the struggle for equal rights for many decades, many of whom thought they would never live to see the day when they could marry the person they love. It was a moving experience I will never forget. All our lobbying paid off when the marriage equality bill passed on November 5th, 2013. I am thankful to my LGBT elders for the unquenchable energy and dignity they have displayed and continue to display. When I think of their determined, excited faces as we marched on our state capital demanding equal treatment under law, I truly grasp what is meant by ‘history isn’t just lived, it is made.’”
Please join CMSS and SAGE in celebrating LGBTQ History Month. Learn more, including the important contributions of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to LGBT History here: https://www.sageusa.org/bipoc-lgbt-elders-history-isnt-just-lived-its-made/