Bill S1783A/A372A would protect LGBTQ+ elders and New Yorkers aging with HIV from discrimination in long-term care facilities.
[New York, NY] SAGE, the world’s largest organization for LGBTQ+ elders, celebrates the New York State legislature’s passage of the LGBTQ+ and HIV Long-Term Care Bill of Rights, sponsored by Assemblymember Harry Bronson [D] and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal [D]. Once signed into law, this bill will amend New York’s public health law to protect the rights and address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders and New Yorkers living with HIV in long-term care facilities.
LGBTQ+ elders and older New Yorkers living with HIV face disparities such as social isolation and higher poverty rates than their non-LGBTQ+ and HIV-negative peers. Additionally, they encounter barriers when accessing aging services and support. The number of older New Yorkers with HIV is increasing, with a projected 73% over 50 by 2030. LGBTQ+ elders have concerns about accessing senior housing and care facilities, fearing discrimination and the need to hide their identity. More than 60% of LGBTQ+ adults over 45 worry about neglect, abuse, harassment, and limited LGBTQ+-specific services in long-term care facilities.
To address these issues, this legislation would mandate training for staff interacting with residents, ensuring tailored care for LGBTQ+ elders and those with HIV. It would establish clear guidelines that prohibit discriminatory actions in long-term care facilities, such as denial of admission or infringement on residents’ right to associate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.
“Thank you, Assemblymember Bronson and Senator Hoylman-Sigal, for championing this bill that empowers LGBTQ+ elders to be open about their identities without fear of discrimination and addresses the stigma that unjustly impacts New Yorkers living with HIV in these settings,” said Darcy Connors, SAGEServes Executive Director. “LGBTQ+ elders and those living with HIV have waited far too long for these safeguards that enable them to age with the dignity and respect they deserve.” Continued Connors, “We urge Governor Kathy Hochul to sign this bill into law so that long-term care facilities across the state are welcome and accessible to our pioneers.”
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 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.