Monthly Archives: September 2011

Another Love Story

The house they lived in has achieved fame as the place where Carrie Bradshaw lived in the TV show “Sex and the City,” and it was a setting in Woody Allen’s film “Alice,” but 64 Perry Street in New York was for more than half a decade actually the setting for a gay love story, between Harold Elliot Leeds, an architect and professor of interior design at Pratt and Wheaton Galentine, a documentary filmmaker.

To read more about this couple and their home, see the New York Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/nyregion/on-carrie-bradshaws-block-romance-over-6-decades.html

Gay, Friendless, with Dementia

The Dallas Voice this week published an article about an unnamed but well-known LGBT activist who developed dementia, was evicted from his home, and has ended up without personal support in a Dallas area nursing home.

The article focuses both on the man’s history and current circumstances (including the fact that he is believed to have a son and grandson somewhere, who have not been located) and the relative lack of LGBT aging services in Dallas.  The latter is cited as one of the possible reasons why, despite previous publicity about the man, he still has no visitors or assistance from the LGBT community.  The Voice notes that one commentator to the first article said that the community’s resources are rightfully dedicated to HIV/AIDS services, and that there is no room for other programs.  That perspective is very interesting, since only a small minority of LGBT people has AIDS, but nearly all of us will at least some day be LGBT elders.

On a brighter note, several of the commentators to this article have pledged to locate the man and begin visiting him.  Let’s hope they do.  The full article is available at http://www.dallasvoice.com/pride-2011-%E2%80%A2-1089571.html

Black Transgender People

“Intersectionality” is a big term that means something simple:  if you belong to more than one minority group, you’re likely to have even more problems than peers who belong to just one of those minority groups.  There’s no better example of the results of intersectionality than a new publication issued by the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

 “Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey,” is a four-page fact sheet that highlights findings from the 381 NTDS respondents who said they were both Black or Black multiracial and transgender.  While these respondents were of every age, it is critical to remember that the economic, health, and social problems people have as young and middle-aged adults lay the groundwork for even more economic, health, and social problems in old age. Continue reading

The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

There are both practical and symbolic aspects to today’s end of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy requiring lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to not come out in the military, or face discharge. 

From an aging standpoint, the most important reason to applaud the policy change is that LGBT people are far more likely to be veterans than are heterosexual, non-transgender people.  Although about 13% of adult Americans served in the military, unpublished data from the Caring and Aging with Pride national LGBT aging survey indicate that more than one-quarter of LGBT older adults are veterans.  Although LGBT veterans are not denied Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, the existence of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell surely made it more difficult for them to push for benefits, services, or respect.  The change should make their lives easier.

It is absolutely critical to note, however, that transgender service members are still not protected.  Transgender people in the military who disclose their gender identity can still be discharged.  Lest you think this can’t affect very many people, surveys are showing that high numbers of transgender people are military veterans.  For instance, the Caring and Aging with Pride survey mentioned above found that 41% of transgender respondents were veterans, a rate 61% higher than the LGB respondents.  The National Center on Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Injustice as Every Turn survey found that 54% of transgender respondents age 65 and up were veterans.  Luckily, transgender veterans recently received a major assist from the Obama Administration, which issued new guidance requiring the VA to treat such veterans with respect.  (To learn more, see the GrayPrideParade post of June 14, “New Transgender Veterans’ Health Care Guidelines.”)

You’ve Got a Washington Lobbyist!

Aging LGBT people have our own full-time, D.C. lobbyist helping ensure that laws and policies discriminating against LGBT older adults are dismantled and replaced with programs and rules that finally meet our country’s standards of fairness.

Aaron Tax is actually SAGE’s second Director of Federal Government Relations, replacing John Johnson, who first filled the position two years ago.  Tax is well-qualified for the job, having most recently been Legal Director for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  (This affiliation is particularly noteworthy for the transgender community, as recent surveys show transgender people are several times more likely to be veterans than are LGB or heterosexual, nontransgender people of the same age.)  Tax has also held positions with the Army’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunities/Civil Rights office and the D.C. office of the U.S. Attorney.  Welcome aboard, Aaron!

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day — Sept. 18, 2011

Over its 30-year history, the face of HIV/AIDS has changed.  Today more than one-quarter of people living with HIV/AIDS are over age 50.  That percentage should hit 50% around 2017.  Although many of these people contracted HIV as young adults and are living longer due to improved medications, it is critical to note that about 15% of all new HIV infections occur in people over 50.  Older adults – of any sexual orientation or gender identity — are rarely targeted in safer sex and injection efforts.

In honor of the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (NRCLA) has launched a new online resource collection related to HIV and LGBT older adults.  The whole collection can currently be accessed at http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/index.cfm

Highlights of the collection include: