Victory Institute’s 2017 LGBTQ Leaders Conference will be a space for the LGBTQ community, its leaders and representatives to discuss the most pressing issues facing our community. One panel seeks to bring to light LGBTQ senior issues and strategize solutions to address the violence and discrimination LGBTQ seniors face as they age and begin to rely more on assisted living facilities and social programs to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
One major issue facing the LGBTQ senior community is housing – there are simply very few options for safe and affirming housing for LGBTQ seniors with well-trained staff available to address their specific needs. LGBTQ seniors are at higher risk for discrimination than their heterosexual counterparts and at higher risk for abuse within assisted-living facilities. In the Aging and Health Report conducted by several LGBTQ organizations form around the country and co-sponsored by SAGE, 82 percent of LGBT older adult respondents reported being victimized at least once. According to SAGE, “Many LGBT older adults encounter long term care settings that are not welcoming to their LGBT identities.” Seniors report having to go back in the closet to avoid discrimination, specifically transgender older adults often receive little to no support they need and are reluctant to seek any services at all.
Hoping to combat this incredible gap in services for older adults, DC is joining 4 other cities in the country (Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Philadelphia) who have LGBTQ specific assisted-living facilities for seniors. Mary’s House for Older Adults will be the first of its kind in the city – a space for LGBTQ seniors to be their whole selves and to have their emotional, recreational, and social needs met by comprehensive health and wellness programing and community based social services.
Housing, violence, increased discrimination, late in life transitioning – these are all issues important to LGBTQ seniors and important to the LGBTQ community as a whole. During this year’s “Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ Seniors” panel, sponsored by AARP, conference participants will have a chance to learn more about these issues, how they relate to every member of the LGBTQ community and what they can do in their own communities and jurisdictions to ensure the needs of LGBTQ older adults are being addressed and their interests represented.
Learn more about the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Washington, DC, December 6 – 9.