SAGE applauds the state’s efforts to amend its laws to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ elders[Sacramento, CA] California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday legislation to ensure that LGBTQ+ older people have equal access to vital government aging services and programming such as Meals on Wheels and senior centers.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, amends state law implementing the federal Older Americans Act and the Older Californians Act to add LGBTQ+ elders to the list of those older people who have the greatest social needs as a result of cultural and social isolation.
“We commend Governor Brown and the state of California for taking this important step forward on behalf of LGBTQ+ older people,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “LGBTQ+ elders experience high rates of social isolation and poverty as well as thin support networks, and they heavily rely on home and community-based services in their later years. Just like all other older people, we must ensure they have access to welcoming services in their communities. We hope that Congress follows California’s lead when it reauthorizes the Older Americans Act in 2019.”
The new California law follows on the heels of legislation adopted in Massachusetts this July that would require all state funded or licensed aging providers to have LGBTQ+ cultural competency training and indicates a trend of states seeking to address the unique needs of LGBTQ+ older people through policy change.
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (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. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States.