Stu Maddux, the producer of the acclaimed LGBT aging documentary, Gen Silent, has issued his 2012 Genny Awards to recognize the year’s most important changes towards a greater quality of life for LGBT older people.
Counting down to number one:
9. The Diverse Elders Coalition Report
In July, The Diverse Elders Coalition released “Securing Our Future: Advancing Economic Security for Diverse Elders.” The report described issues facing elders of color and LGBT elders and offers policy recommendations in key areas of their well-being including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and health care reform.
8. Prop 8 and Parts of DOMA found unconstitutional but high court has final say
Millions now wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear several cases that could decide marriage equality nationwide.
7. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Issues New Rules Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity
In January the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, announced new regulations to ensure that housing that receives HUD funding is open to all eligible regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
6. New Research: “Sexual Minority Stress Risk’ for Older Gays”
A groundbreaking study published in the American Journal of Public Health explored the mental health of older gay men who survived the AIDS crisis and came of age during the gay rights movement. Researchers, led by Richard G. Wright of the Williams Institute at UCLA, found that in addition to stigma experienced as a result of their sexual identity, older gay men’s mental health was also impacted by loss of peers to AIDS.
5. AoA Issues Guidelines Inclusive of Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity
In July the Administration on Aging released new guidelines empowering Area Agencies on Aging that receive AoA funds to prioritize funding, outreach, and data collection based on the clarified definition of “greatest social need” that is inclusive of LGBT older adults.
4. White House Conference on LGBT Aging
In May, The White House hosted a conference on LGBT Aging in Miami giving local leaders and advocates for LGBT elders another groundbreaking opportunity to consult with key officials at the national level, including Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee.
3. Marriage Equality and LGBT candidates win big in November
In Maryland, marriage equality won by popular vote. In Wisconsin, the first openly gay person was elected to the US Senate. The wins reflected success for a number of similar candidates and measures around the country.
2. LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012 Introduced
In September, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the LGBT Elder Americans Act which would classify LGBT elders as a vulnerable population, permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, improve data collection, and prioritize grants for organizations working to improve LGBT health, long-term care, and access to culturally appropriate services. Track the status of this bill: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s3575
1. Social Security Equality Act of 2012
The Social Security Act of 2012, introduced by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, would eliminate the SSA’s policy that denies same-sex couples the same benefits as married heterosexual couples. Track the status of this bill: www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4609
Weighted voting by professionals and the public took place in December.