CNN Health took on LGBT aging this week with an overview article, “Retirement options grow as gay boomers find more mianstream acceptance.”
Bob Witeck, CEO and co-founder of Witeck Communications, is quoted extensively in the article, talking about how life has changed for LGBT older people, including how many — like him — don’t expect to retire.
The article also reviews recent LGBT aging policy changes, and features quotes by Michael Adams of SAGE and Laurie Young of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It’s currently available at http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/09/health/lgbt-retirement/index.html
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.
“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
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.”)
In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest-ever survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf). Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide-ranging questionnaire. Here are some highlights relating to the violence faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Abuse at home and at school
- 19% have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a family member because of their transgender identity or gender non-conformity
- MTFs are more likely to experience family violence than FTMs (22% to 15%)
- Of those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12…
- 78% experienced harassment
- 31% experienced harassment from teachers or staff
- 35% experienced physical assault
- 5% were physically assaulted by teachers or staff
- 12% experienced sexual violence
- 3% were sexually assaulted by teachers or staff
- MTFs were more often sexually assaulted (15%), compared to FTMs (10%)
- 6% were expelled for their gender identity/expression
- 50% have experienced harassment by someone at work
- 7% have been physically assaulted on the job
- 6% have been sexually assaulted at work
In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest-ever survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf). Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide-ranging questionnaire. Here are some highlights relating to transgender and gender non-conforming people and their family members
You win some and you lose some
- 70% of children still speak to and spend time with their transgender/gender non-conforming parent
- 61% say their family relationships have slowly improved after coming out and/or transitioning
- 57% experienced some level of family rejection
- 55% of intimate relationships survive the transgender person’s coming out and/or transition (or ended for a reason other than gender)
- 55% of those who transition lose their intimate partnership
- 45% say their family is as strong now as it was before they came out
- 43% maintained most of their family bonds
- 40% said one or more relatives “chose not to speak or spend time with me” due to their gender identity/expression
One of the LGBT policy advances we’ve seen under the Obama Administration is a commitment to ensuring that federal programs under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Administration recently published proposed rules to implement these changes and is soliciting professional and public input until March 25, 2011. These proposed rules — available at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=LGBTPR.PDF – specifically prohibit HUD programs (including FHA mortgage insurance programs and federally-supported housing programs for older adults) from asking about sexual orientation or gender identity. The rules also give more expansive definitions of a “family” or “household” to ensure that LGBT families are included. Two additional programs of note that are included under the new provisions are the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS. (Interestingly, the introduction to the rules cites, among other things, the large discrimination study just sponsored by the National Center on Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which FORGE has been summarizing here.)
John Johnson, full-time federal lobbyist for the LGBT aging community (employed by SAGE), suggests that comments include the following:
- Brief introduction
- Your credentials
- How the rule or change will impact your agency and/or your constituents
- Ask what change you would like to see
- Say why it is important
- Thank them for their time
- Provide your contact information
HUD prefers that comments be submitted electronically; those with privacy concerns should note it appears these are available online to anyone who cares to search them. Comments can also be submitted by mail. For more information and for contact information if you have questions, see the website noted above.
In the second of our series, here’s FORGE’s new fact sheet pulling together key employment-related statistics from the new NCTE/NGLTF study, “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.”
Getting and staying on the job
- Transgender and gender non-conforming respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general public
- Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming
- MTFs: 36%
- FTMs: 19%
- 47% have experienced an adverse job outcome, “such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming”
Last week the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) issued a long-awaited and groundbreaking study — the largest ever — of transgender and gender non-conforming people and their experiences of discrimination, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf). The study is truly fascinating, providing “proof” of things many of us knew, but also providing a heretofore invisible mapping of the transgender community’s tremendous diversity. Over the next few days and weeks, GrayPrideParade and its parent organization, FORGE, will write and post here a series of articles on this 200-page report, highlighting specific topics. Today, it’s “fast facts” about transgender and gender non-conforming people’s experiences with health care, including some facts health care practitioners ought to know about who is walking through their doors.
“I was forced to have a pelvic exam by a doctor when I went in for a sore throat. The doctor invited others to look at me while he examined me and talked to them about my genitals.”
Experiences of abuse and discrimination
- 28% had been subjected to harassment in a medical setting
- 26% had been physically assaulted in at least one health care setting
- 24% had been denied equal treatment at a doctor’s office or hospital
- 19% had been refused medical care due to being transgender or gender non-conforming (the rate was higher for transgender people of color)
- 13% had been denied equal treatment at an emergency room
- 10% had been sexually assaulted in at least one health care setting