Monthly Archives: April 2012

LGBT, Mainstream Aging Organizations Merge

California-based Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, an 18-year-old LGBT aging organization with a $150,000 budget, has announced its merger with Bay Area Community Services (BACS), a 60-year-old, mainstream vulnerable adult services agency with an $8 million budget.

 The new arrangement benefits both organizations, say Dan Ashbrook, Lavender Seniors’ Executive Director and Jaime Almanza, BACS’ Executive Director.  The Bay Area Reporter says Lavender Seniors’ declining revenues was part of what led to the merger.  Marvin Burrows, one of Lavender Seniors’ founders, agrees, “It gives the financial responsibility to someone else.”  But, he continues, “we’ll have a lot of other help with our programs, faster referrals, and so on. “  The article interviews a Lavender Senior client who explains how the new arrangement has improved the services she can access, and concludes with Ashbrook saying, “It’s a phenomenal model which mainstream senior service agencies can replicate to better address the needs of LGBT elder adults.”   You can read the article here: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=67651

Federal Government Reprints Transgender Discrimination Data

In an unusual development, transgender people not only get much more attention than the rest of the LGB population in a new federal report, but the feds essentially republish four pages of findings from a 2011 transgender research and advocacy report written by the National Center on Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Injustice as Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Study.

The new federal publication, the National Healthcare Disparities Report 2011, is the latest in a series of annual reports that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services publishes “to help policymakers understand and address the impact of racial, socioeconomic, and other differences on various populations.”

The 2011, 256-page report for the first time addresses LGBT health disparities.  In a refreshing but somewhat troubling turn-around, the new section (and one graph) is entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations,” but actually only addressees transgender data.  All of the section’s content is taken from the NCTE/NGLTF report, with “minor edits…to conform to Government style conventions and make the text consistent with the rest of the report.”  It’s nice to have the “T” lead for once – and wonderful to have the federal government take notice of our health disparities — but I wish it hadn’t been done in a way that can promote continued confusion about who, exactly, LGBT people are.

Title VII Legal Breakthrough for Transgender People

One of the most important requirements for a decent old age is having enough income to pay for housing, medications, food, and other necessities of life.  Many LGBT elders have trouble meeting that requirement due to lifelong employment discrimination.  On April 23, 2012, a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) became a key step in correcting this discrepancy, especially for transgender elders. Continue reading

Portland Gay & Gray Expo May 12, 2012

The nation’s largest (reportedly) Gay & Grey Expo is taking place on May 12, 2012, at Portland’s Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Avenue, Portland, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Up to 500 LGBTQ elders are expected at the event, which will include not only a resource fair with exhibits from companies and nonprofits interested in LGBT older adults, but also educational workshops, health screenings,  30-minute demos, and entertainment (including Gen Silent, the widely acclaimed documentary on growing old LGBT).

To sign up to be a vendor, go to http://www.gayandgreypdx.org/; for a PQ Monthly article on the event, see http://www.pqmonthly.com/2012/04/gay-grey-welcomes-aging-boomers-with-fourth-annual-expo/

DC Rally on Behalf of Social Security Equity

If you can be in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11:00 a.m., you can witness a stellar cast of LGBT advocates in the flesh at a rally being held to mark the introduction into Congress of The Social Security Equality Act of 2012, a bill to ensure that any couple that has any type of registered permanent partnership has access to survivor benefits under Social Security.

The new bill is being introduced by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and she has lined up quite a list of leaders to celebrate the new bill, including:

  • Actor and LGBT activist George Takei
  • LA Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean
  • NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey
  • SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams
  • AIDS Community Action Foundation President Craig R. Miller
  • Rock for Equality Spokeswoman Alice Herman

The press conference and rally will be held in what’s called the House Triangle, which is located on the House side of the Capitol’s east front.  You can access a map with the spot marked by going to http://www.thedccenter.org/blog/2012/04/athe-social-security-equality-act-of-2012.html and clicking on their link to a map.

White House LGBT Conference on Aging

If you can be in Miami on May 7, 2012, make sure you plan to go to the White House LGBT Conference on Aging, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Miami’s Clinical Research Building at 1120 NW 14th Street.

The conference will feature keynote remarks by Kathy Greenlee, the openly lesbian Assistant Secretary on Aging for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Raphael Bostic, the openly gay Assistant Secretary for Policy & Research Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“The White House LGBT Conference on Aging will provide advocates, community leaders, and members of the public an opportunity to engage with the Obama Administration on the health, housing, and security needs of aging members of the LGBT community.  Participants will receive updates from senior officials from The White House and key agencies and departments, connect with Federal government resources and opportunities through workshop sessions, and provide valuable feedback through the “Open Space” process.”

To sign up (which includes places to say what specific issues or topics you would like to explore during the conference and what kinds of resources and information you’d like to access there), go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/white-house-lgbt-conference-aging

Reorganization Affects Administration on Aging

This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced a reorganization that affects the Administration on Aging (AoA).

A new Administration on Community Living (ACL) has been created, bringing together into a single agency the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.  “The Administration for Community Living will seek to enhance and improve the broad range of supports that individuals may need to live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities.  These support needs go well beyond health care and include the availability of appropriate housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships and social participation.”

Kathy Greenlee, the openly lesbian Assistant Secretary for Aging, will assume an additional role as Administrator of the Administration for Community Living. 

For more information on the new ACL, go to http://www.hhs.gov/acl/

Latina Transgender Women and Law Enforcement

One of the key components of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging’s training curriculum is ample discussion of the types and amounts of discrimination and violence those who are now LGBT older adults faced when they were younger.  Another way of getting familiar with what older LGBT people experienced is by looking at what’s still happening now with the most marginalized among LGBT people.

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White House Seeks LGBT Champions

For Pride Month this year, the Obama White House has announced a video/essay competition to honor selected LGBT Champions of Change, defined as “everyday heros who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens.”

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