NYC Council LGBTQIA+ Caucus co-chairs Council Members Tiffany Cabán and Crystal Hudson propose the creation of a new commission for LGBTQIA+ elders within the Department for the Aging[New York, NY] SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ+) elders, applauds Aging Committee Chair Crystal Hudson and Women and Gender Equity Committee Chair Tiffany Cabán for leading a groundbreaking joint oversight hearing on the “Challenges Facing LGBTQIA+ Older Adults” and co-sponsoring a new bill to address these challenges head-on by creating a commission on LGTBQIA+ older people within the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA).
“Our city’s LGBTQ+ elders and older New Yorkers living with HIV have been the at forefront of the movement for LGBTQ+ equality and justice. They are a resilient, growing demographic that has unique needs as they age—needs that New York City must address and prioritize,” said Lynn Faria, Executive Vice President of SAGE. “This first ever, history-making hearing and proposal to create a commission dedicated to addressing the unique needs of LGBTQ+ elders will help ensure these pioneers can age with the dignity and respect they deserve. This progress is a testament to the meaningful impact of representation in City Hall. SAGE applauds Council Members Cabán and Hudson for their tireless advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ elders and looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Department for the Aging and Commissioner Cortés-Vázquez.”
LGBTQIA+ elders have faced a lifetime of discrimination and, as a result, face disparities in health, economic security, caregiving, and social connections—LGBTQIA+ older people of color and transgender older people face even deeper disparities.
The proposed commission on LGBTQIA+ aging would investigate, analyze, and study the health, housing, financial, social, home-and-community-based services, assisted living, and long-term care needs of LGBTQIA+ older adults and older New Yorkers living with HIV. If passed and signed into law, membership of this commission would consist of New Yorkers from the LGBTQIA+ aging advocacy groups, community-based healthcare organizations, HIV and AIDS service providers, trans-led advocacy organizations, labor organizations, disability services, and organizations that serve Black, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and Latinx LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers, as well as appointments by the Department for the Aging (DFTA) Commissioner.
“It’s time our city actively worked to engage older LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers and addressed their diverse needs with meaningful legislation and tangible solutions,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson (D35). “This is the generation on whose shoulders we stand, and that has paved the way with its tireless advocacy and courageous determination. Queer New Yorkers now live in a city that is at once more accepting and more replete with resources to meet the needs of our community, and we must continue to take heed from our older neighbors and work to guarantee that their needs—from housing and health care, to food security and culturally competent city services—are always met. By establishing this Commission, we are ensuring that older LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers are not just part of the conversation, but always at the decision-making table.”
“While it is well-known that an historic percentage of New York’s young people identify as LGBTQIA+, discussions of the over 100,000 LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers aged 65 or older are rare,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán (D22). “This Pride Month, let us hear from our beloved older LGBTQIA+ neighbors, friends, and family. What do they need to allow them to age with dignity, how culturally competent and equitable are the city’s services, and how can the Council help improve these outcomes? I’m so glad to help chair today’s hearing, to probe into these and related questions and help make our city safer, healthier, and more welcoming to all who live here.”
“During Pride Month, our communities continue to advocate for equality and simultaneously celebrate progress – and a vital reason for historic progress for our communities has been our LGBTQIA+ older adults. Despite discrimination, health inequities, housing insecurity, and so many other barriers, it was our older adults who persevered and paved the way for so many to be out and proud today,” said Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “We applaud the sponsors, Councilperson Cabán and Councilperson Hudson, for introducing legislation to create a commission dedicated to addressing long-standing issues that this community faces every single day. These are our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and chosen family and they deserve a New York that is safe, affirming, and equitable.”
“LiveOn NY applauds Council Member Crystal Hudson and Council Member Tiffany Cabán for holding this historic first hearing on the challenges facing LGBTQIA+ older adults,” said Brianna Paden-Williams, Communications and Policy Associate at LiveOn NY. “LGBTQIA+ older adults are pioneers of the movement who refuse to be invisible, yet often face challenges of being disconnected from critical community-based services such as older adult centers, health services, and affordable housing. No one should have to hide who they are or who they love to age safely in community. At LiveOn NY, we are committed to uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community and ensuring all older New Yorkers have access to equitable LGBTQIA+ affirming services throughout the five boroughs.”
This bill to establish a commission on LGTBQIA+ older adults within DFTA is being pre-considered at the time of the June 21, 2022 oversight hearing and does not yet have a bill number. Following its introduction, it will have to pass out of the New York City Council’s Committee on Aging with a majority vote before being sent to the full Council, where it can be considered and voted on at a Stated Meeting.
SAGE is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ+) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. Learn more at sageusa.org.