Monthly Archives: June 2011

Syracuse, NY Art Show Features LGBT Elders’ Art

If you are in or near Syracuse, NY bewteen June 25 and July 16, 2011, stop in at Artrage Gallery, 505 Hawley Avenue, to check out its “The Art of Aging” exhibit.

The exhibit features works created by participants in a SAGE Upstate, Gifford Foundation-funded project that brought in skilled creative artists to teach or improve LGBT older adults’ skills in photography, creating writing, and pastels.  A promotion for the exhibit notes, “The artists — both new and experienced — have something to say about the world they live in, and what it feels like to experience it as an older LGBT person.”

For more information on the exhibit, see http://artragegallery.org/the-art-of-aging.  For more information on SAGE Update, go to http://www.sageupstate.org/  The photograph accompanying this post is from the exhibit, is entitled “Dessert First,” and was done by Joe Leonard.

States Offered Medicaid Same-Sex Spouse Options

In yet another instance of the Obama Administration reaching as far as it legally can to protect LGBT people, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this month issued a letter to state Medicaid administrators explaining how they can, if they so choose, protect same-sex spouses and domestic partners in much the same way that heterosexual spouses are protected.

Specifically, the letter addresses three Medicaid policies that relate to how a nursing home resident “spends down” their assets so that they become eligible for Medicaid.  Many years ago, federal changes were enacted that ensured that “community-dwelling” spouses weren’t thrown from their houses or deprived of all their assets when their nursing home resident partner became eligible for Medicaid.   Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), these provisions can not be extended to same-sex spouses…except if states follow the guidance in this new letter.

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Lesbian and Gay Veterans

Only one of the featured veterans is over 60 (70, to be specific), but advocates may still find of interest a recent OutFront article, “Home of the Brave: LGBT Veterans share their stories for Pride.”

Available at http://outfrontcolorado.com/ofcblog/news/home-of-the-brave-honoring-lgbt-veterans/, the simple but powerful article features black-and-white portraits and one-paragraph descriptions of five Colorado veterans.  (It is important to note that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will not protect transgender veterans.)

New Transgender Veterans’ Health Care Guidelines

The Veterans Administration has issued a Directive to all of its facilities requiring them to provide respectful, confidential healthcare to transgender veterans, including providing hormones and mental health care.

In its fact sheet about the new Directive, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) correctly notes that not only is the new Directive “an important first step in securing equal access for transgender veterans,” but it also sets “an example of how healthcare providers in both the public and private sector should be treating transgender patients.”  The main features of the new Directive, NCTE’s fact sheet continues, include:

  • All VA staff are to provide care to transgender patients “without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients;”
  • States that all personal information about transgender status and medical care is to be kept confidential;
  • A reiteration that, under existing regulations, sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or paid for by the VA; and
  • Reiterates that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including sex-specific care like mammograms and pap smears, as well as transition-related care such as hormones and mental health services.

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Smartphone Apps for Caregivers

This is certainly not for everyone (yet!), but for technophiles who have outfitted the ones they care for, there’s a short new article that discusses smartphone apps for “aging in place.”

The article discusses an app that will help if your loved one wanders (and you can somehow ensure she or he keeps a smartphone on them), if your loved one has a webcam, and — for real techies — a whole system for video monitoring.  Check it out here: http://www.aarp.org/technology/innovations/info-06-2011/smartphone-apps-aging-in-place.html

Feds Issue Transgender Employee Guidance

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has just issued “guidance” about federal employees who are transgender that could and should serve as model policies and procedures for private employers.  This guidance is a major step forward for transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies).

Four documents were issued in late May, 2011.

ElderTG Member Featured in Photo Essay

Long-time ElderTG member Sherri Wright is featured in a 12-picture photo essay created by Tess Freeman, a sophomore journalism student at the University of Oregon.

The series, available at http://www.fluxstories.com/2011/05/just-one-of-the-girls/ (make sure you click on “captions” below the pictures), explains that Sherri, now 71, originally transitioned male-to-female at age 65.  A major focus is Sherri’s passion, square dancing.

ElderTG is a peer support email listserv sponsored by the FORGE Transgender Aging Network.  Currently 13 years old, it is open to transgender people age 50+, and/or their immediate family members.  For more information, go to http://forge-forward.org/aging/aging-listservs/

AARP Waves the Rainbow Flag

Think you’d never see a gay male couple like this gracing an AARP website?  Think again! 

 Taking their growing commitment to the LGBT community one step further, AARP has launched a new online section of their website entitled, “AARP Pride Information and Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People,” available at http://www.aarp.org/relationships/friends-family/aarp-pride/ Continue reading

Preliminary Findings of New LGBT Aging Study

The Caring and Aging with Pride study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging, has published preliminary findings of its nationwide survey of 2,560 LGBT adults aged 50 to 95.

FORGE’s Transgender Aging Network was one of 11 partnering groups that helped recruit participants in the study and that are helping shape and disseminate its results.  The 4-page preliminary report briefly covers key findings about service needs, physical and mental health, health strengths and risks, health care access, and health behaviors.  The full report will be available in Fall 2011.

This report, The Health Report: Resilience and Disparities among LGBT Older Adults, includes the following highlights:

  • Nearly one-half of LGBT older adults have a disability and nearly one-third report depression.
  • Two-thirds experience verbal harassment and 40% physical violence.
  • Among transgender older adults, 22% need to see a doctor but cannot due to cost.
  • Most LGBT older adults (91%) engage in wellness activities.
  • 88% feel good about belonging to the LGBT community.
  • 15% fear receiving health services outside the LGBT community.
  • Two-thirds report the need for senior housing, social events and transportation.

You can access the preliminary report at http://depts.washington.edu/agepride/docs/Prelimin_Findings_Report_FINAL.pdf

AIDS Gets Gray Hair

Did you know that in San Francisco, the majority of people with AIDS are age 50 or older?

The Bay Area Reporter yesterday published this statistic and others related to the aging face of AIDS.  Although most of the older HIV+ are long-term survivors who have been given more years of life via more effective medications, the newspaper reports that in San Francisco, 1 in 6 of those who are HIV+ learn of their infection after they turn 50.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the  news about the aging of the HIV epidemic, start with ACRIA’s listserve, available here:  http://www.acria.org/center/introduction If you want to read the BAR article, it’s at http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5742