Taking Pride in Pride Month at Broadview at Purchase College

When Amy Schecter was choosing where to live, one of her primary concerns was to find a community of open minded, accepting people where her sexual orientation would not be an issue.

Amy said when she learned that Broadview at Purchase College was one of the only 10 groups in New York to receive a platinum credential from SAGE, an advocacy and services organization for LGBTQ elders, she was impressed.

The 70-year-old retired Broadway casting director said now that she has moved into the intergenerational senior community on the campus of Purchase College, the reality has far exceeded her expectations.  Not only was the community accepting, they were all in.

Amy and another resident, MJ Karger (who became a leader in the LGBTQ+ community after her 50-year-old son came out after college) and Broadview’s Director of Community Life Kate Abate started a group for anyone interested in learning more. It’s called Open Arms.

Studies project the population of LGBTQ+ people over 50 to reach 7 million by 2030.

Amy said that many older adults may still be reluctant to come out because of the attitudes of their generation. But you don’t have to be gay to attend a meeting, she said.

“We meet every three weeks at the Multi-Cultural Center on campus. Anyone who is interested can come,’’ said Amy. “Many people have sons or daughters who are gay, or they just want to know more.”

That’s the case with MJ, whose son’s coming out propelled her into the gay community. She has been deeply involved in several groups that work in schools to promote acceptance and understanding in the educational community.

“My son came to see us with his partner a few months ago and he was very impressed. The Pride flags were all around. Open Arms has more than a dozen people who come to meetings,’’ she said.

Open Arms has been working with The LOFT: LGBTQ Community Center in White Plains to partner on programming. And the group was recently joined by 12 Purchase College students for a screening of Gen Silent, a documentary about LGBTQ older adults and aging.

Amy said that their group has been learning a lot from students at the college.

“There was a trans woman who spoke about things I had never thought about,’’ she said. “A lot of us are learning from them.’’