Monthly Archives: July 2012

Capitol Hill Briefing on LGBT, Other “Diverse Elders”

If you’re in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, see if you can make it to Dirksen Senate Office Building Room SD-562 at 10 a.m. for a two-hour briefing on the “economic issues, and proposed policy solutions, facing vulnerable older people, notably Black elders; Hispanic elders; Asian and Pacific Islander elders; American Indian and Alaska Native elders; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders.”

Expected speakers include:

  • Michael Adams, Executive Director, Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders
  • David Affeldt, Association Nacional Pro Personas Mayores
  • Randella Bluehouse, Executive Director, National Indian Council on Aging
  • Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging
  • Christine Takada, President and CEO, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
  • Doua Thor, Executive Director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
  • Daniel Wilson, Director of Policy and Program Development, National Caucus & Center on Black Aged, Inc.

The briefing will debut a new policy report, which GrayPrideParade will review soon.  For more information on the briefing and/or to RSVP, contact Jason Coates at 202-347-9733 or jcoates (at) nhcoa.org.

Chinese Transwoman Comes Out at 80

A Chinese calligrapher who came out at age 80 is profiled (and inaccurately pronouned) in a short profile at http://www.china.org.cn/wap/2012-06/14/content_25646014.htm

The story notes that Qian Yiling “deceived [her] parents, wife and son all these years,” but “After revealing [her] secret, [her] relatives, friends, and the [Foshan Cultural, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication] bureau have shown understanding.”  It ends by noting that her wife “is willing to go out with her female-dressed husband.”

Daily Kos Does Long Article on Transgender Aging

As noted in this blog on June 1, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) recently released a groundbreaking report, “Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice.” 

Two weeks later the Daily Kos ran a long article on the report, still available with a long list of reader comments.  The article is available at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/16/1100577/-Aging-Transgenders-Quality-of-Life .  The publication itself is at http://transequality.org/Resources/TransAgingPolicyReportFull.pdf

Administration on Aging Targets LGBT Elders

Today the Administration on Aging unveiled new guidance to the aging services network about targeting LGBT elders for services under the Older Americans Act (OAA).

The 2006 OAA reauthorization encourages state units on aging and area agencies on aging to target services to those with the “greatest social need.”  The new guidance, part of AoA’s Frequently Asked Questions, is available at http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/OAA/resources/Faqs.aspx#English under “Targeting.”  It reads in full:

Q:  Does “greatest social need” as defined in the Older Americans [Act] allow communities to target funds to populations they identify as experiencing cultural, social or geographic isolation other than isolation caused by racial or ethnic status?

A:  While the definition of “greatest social need” in the Older Americans Act includes isolation caused by racial or ethnic status, the definition is not intended to exclude the targeting of populations that experience cultural, social or geographic isolation due to other factors.  In some communities, such isolation may be caused by minority religious affiliation.  In others, isolation due to sexual orientation or gender identity may restrict a person’s ability to perform normal daily tasks or live independently.  Each planning and service area must assess their particular environment to determine those populations best targeted based on “greatest social need.”

HHS LGBT 2012 Report Available

Wondering what the federal government has done for the LGBT community lately?  A good place to start getting answers is an 11-page-long report that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published last month, available at http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/lgbthealth_objectives_2012.html

The report goes over nine 2012 objectives.  Those most relevant to LGBT aging issues include:

  • Releasing a report that “identifies the gaps and oppportunities in its portfolio in light of the recommendations that the Institute of Medicine made in its 2011 report entitled, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.
  • Funding five pilot studies to reduce obesity in lesbian and bisexual women.
  • With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assessing the impact of new chronic disease prevention programs on LGBT populations;
  • Conducting a comprehensive review of LGBT cultural competency training curricula and improving training for programs delivering integrated health services to LGBT clients; and
  • Through a partnership between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Administration for Community Living, “release a training video to educate long-term care ombudsmen, surveyors, healthcare providers, and state and local government officials about LGBT older Americans, the impacts of the social stigma on this community, and the rights of consumers in nursing homes, hospice, and health care.  The video will highlight best practices, identify resources to support LGBT older adults, and give instruction on what to do if one becomes aware of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  In addition, CMS will clarify its rules governing nursing home visitation rights, which are already in place and apply equally to those with same-sex domestic partners.”

The report also notes that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Administration on Aging has issued five grants focused on improving behavioral health services and on suicide prevention among older people.  Two of theswe grants — to the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and the Montrose Counseling Center in Houston — specifically target LGBT seniors.

Gen Silent Transcript Now Online

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but now you have a choice: Gen Silent, the marvelous documentary on LGBT aging, has been transcribed.  The transcript is available at http://stumaddux.com/blog/archives/548  Enjoy!

LGBT-Friendly Cancer Screening Facilities

The National LGBT Cancer Network recently announced a major expansion of its directory of LGBT-friendly cancer screening facilities, including offering a starred designation for facilities that have trained all staff on transgender issues and reached out to their local transgender community.

“LGBT people are at increased risk of cancer, not due to any physiological differences, but behaviors, many of which result from the stress of living as sexual and gender minorities in this country,” Liz Margolies, Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, explained.  She noted, for instance, that “Gay men have very high rates of HPV, the virus that can lead to anal cancer.  In fact, anal cancer rates in this population are 40 times higher than in the general population.  A simple screening procedure, an anal pap smear, can test for precancerous changes, but too few men are aware of the need for or existence of the test, or out to their provider who could then recommend it.”

In addition to their searchable directory, the National LGBT Cancer Network also offers an automated Electronic Prompt that can help you keep track of when you are due for another screening, and a risk assessment tool to help you pinpoint where you may be at increased risk of various types of cancer.   The directory, electronic prompt, and risk assessment tool are all available through the Natinoal LGBT Cancer Network’s homepage, at http://www.cancer-network.org/  An article on the expansion of the directory is available at http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2012/04/national-lgbt-cancer-network-adds-300-facilities-and-transgender-friendly-designation.html

Medicaid, Obamacare, and LGBT People

Last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of most of the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act (popularly known as “Obamacare”) left in place upcoming changes to Medicaid that will particularly help low-income LGBT people.

The new law permits states to expand Medicaid coverage to all Americans under the age of 65 who make less than $15,000 per year (the Supreme Court struck down the provision that would have withheld ALL Medicaid funds from states that refused to do so, making this now a truly optional program).  This provision could provide care to an additional 16 million currently uninsured people, including many LGBT people, who on average have less income than non-LGBT people.  The provision also extends Medicaid coverage to people living with HIV earlier in the course of the disease, again affecting a disproportionate number of LGBT people.

A blog post on this topic, written by two health policy analysts for LGBT Progress, is available at http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/06/28/508590/how-medicaid-expansion-affects-gay-and-transgender-communities/

USA Today Notices LGBT Elders

“If you built a[n aging services] business on core values of quality of life, choice, dignity, etc., you have a responsibility to maintain those values no matter who the person is — Christian or Muslim or Hindu or straight or gay.”

So USA Today quoted Jamison Gosselin, spokesman for the Assisted Living Federation of America, in a June 30, 2012, article entitled, “Gay senior centers growing in numbers around the nation” and available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-30/gay-senior-centers/55946066/1  The somewhat misleadingly titled article does discuss the new LGBT senior centers opened by SAGE (New York) and the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, but also mentions new housing being built by the Chicao Center on Halstead and outreach work being done by Oklahomans for Equality.