Sonoma County Gets Sensitivity Training

Sometimes the discrimination and pain LGBT older people go through can end up making positive changes.

That is what’s happening in Sonoma County, California.  In a case that began in 2008, Sonoma County Adult Protective Services (APS) opened a case concerning Clay Greene and his partner Harold Scull.  Believing that Scull had fallen during an argument with Greene, officials separated the two men and began a series of actions that concluded, after Scull’s death, in a lawsuit that, among other things, charged officials with homophobia.  (For more details on the case, see “Homophobia or Expedience?  Sonoma County Goes on Trial” (see http://www.forge-forward.org/docs/Sonoma-case-VED-article.pdf.)  Greene settled the case last July.

This month, the Sonoma County Division of Adult & Aging Services held a staff in-service training that included showing the film “Gen Silent,” about LGBT elders.  This award-winning film was released last summer and highlights “the unique mix of isolation and fear facing many gay seniors.”  For more on the Sonoma County showing, see the blog post by Stu Maddux, the film’s director and editor (http://stumaddux.blogspot.com/2011/02/agency-that-separated-elderly-gay.html).  For more information on Gen Silent, see its Facebook page or go to http://gensilent.com.

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