President Biden’s Executive Order mirrors language from a groundbreaking LGBTQ+ aging bill named after lesbian activists Ruthie Berman and her late wife, Connie Kurtz.
[New York, NY] Today, in honor of Pride Month, President Biden signed an Executive Order that advances protections and support for the LGBTQ+ community. SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ elders, celebrates this win for the community. The first of its kind Executive Order includes explicit direction for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish a long-term care “Bill of Rights for LGBTQI+ Older Adults” and new guidance on the nondiscrimination protections for older people in long-term care settings. It also charges HHS with undertaking new rulemaking to establish that LGBTQI+ individuals are included in the definition of populations of “greatest social need” under the Older Americans Act.
The Executive Order also mirrors language from the Ruthie and Connie LGBTQ+ Elder Americans Act, a groundbreaking LGBTQ+ aging bill named after lesbian activists Ruthie Berman and her late wife Connie Kurtz. The bill, introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and endorsed by SAGE, proposes increased federal support to millions of LGBTQ+ elders through the Older Americans Act (OAA), the country’s largest vehicle for funding and delivering services to older people.
“SAGE applauds President Biden’s Executive Order, which secures vital protections for LGBTQ+ older people and the wider LGBTQ+ community,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “This Executive Order builds on Congresswoman Bonamici’s Ruthie and Connie LGBTQ+ Elder Americans Act and takes a critical step forward in protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ elders, who face higher rates of poverty, acute social isolation, and severe challenges accessing culturally competent services and supports. We honor the work of our many LGBTQ+ pioneers, like Ruthie Berman and her late wife Connie Kurtz, whose tireless advocacy made today’s Executive Order possible.”
“Thank you, President Biden, for recognizing the health and welfare of LGBTQ+ elders who have given a great deal to the betterment of this country,” said activist and bill namesake Ruthie Berman.
We commend the leadership of President Biden and our champions in Congress—including Representatives Bonamici, Deutch, and Crist, as well as Senators Bennet, Casey, and Murkowski—who continue to prove their dedication to supporting the millions of older LGBTQ+ people across the country.
SAGE is the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/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.