New legislation would help reduce isolation and improve access to care for LGBTQ+ older people and sexual health care for all older Americans[Washington, D.C.] – Today, the Inclusive Aging Act was introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Bob Casey (D-PA). This bipartisan legislative proposal aims to support inclusive aging and sexual health care services for older Americans while specifically addressing the unique needs of LGBTQ+ older people.
If passed, the first-of-its-kind bill would, among other things, ensure that LGBTQ+ elders have access to much-needed aging services and supports, permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and create an Office of Inclusivity and Sexual Health in the Administration for Community Living.
The office would facilitate data collection on LGBTQ+ older adults, issue funding opportunities that would support older LGBTQ+ people—including a rural outreach grant program to connect rural LGBTQ+ older people with services and supports—and promote the adoption of policies across federal programs to help address the specific needs of LGBTQ+ elders.
“SAGE thanks Senators Michael Bennet, Lisa Murkowski, and Bob Casey for taking this critically important step to address the unique needs of LGBTQ+ older people, especially those suffering from severe isolation because of who they are or where they live,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “Many LGBTQ+ elders face high levels of discrimination and barriers to accessing services and care. Although there are a variety of federal programs designed to assist them, none are specifically designed to provide equal access to services for LGBTQ+ older people. This legislation would change that,” said Adams.
Adams singled out Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski for her strong leadership in providing bipartisan sponsorship for the legislation. “In an era when there is too little bipartisan cooperation, we express our deep gratitude to Senator Murkowski for her visionary leadership in making the well-being of all elders—regardless of who they are and whom they love—her highest priority,” said Adams.
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.