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April 10, 2014

Isolation hampers, seniors' well-being

The Bay Area Reporter
By Matthew S. Bajko

A walk through Manhattan's gay Chelsea district is no longer as enjoyable for Charles Cole as it once was. Many of his longtime neighborhood haunts, from gay bars and hangouts to gay-catering businesses, have closed as the area's LGBT population moves to other sections of New York City.

And at the age of 64, the gay single New Yorker can sense the younger men who remain don't acknowledge him when he does venture out.

"One of the things I do notice when I am out in the real world ... since I am an older gay man I can be invisible to a lot of people. I can walk down the street and other gay men that are younger than I am don't even see me," Cole said. "Definitely, I felt isolated."

Four years ago, while attending a job fair at New York City's LGBT community center, Cole overheard talk about computer classes offered by SAGE, short for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, and enrolled. Although he knew about the agency, Cole didn't see himself as a senior citizen and had never sought out its services.

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