SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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May 8, 2012

White House Holds First LGBT Conference on Aging

By The Takeaway
The first in a series of White House conferences devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aging was held in Miami yesterday. Many of the issues addressed—retirement security, health care, housing—are concerns shared by older Americans of all sexual stripes. But LGBT seniors also face unique obstacles, including discrimination and a lack of certain legal protections.

For instance, until two months ago, same-gender couples could be banned from sharing subsidized senior residences or other public housing because they are not married. New rules passed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently broadened the definition of “family” so these couples could qualify. But HUD still must work to make sure the policy is applied, an agency representative said.

LGBT adults are also four times less likely to have children and twice as likely to be single and live alone in old age, explained Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE USA.

"They’re more likely to be disconnected from their family of origin. It makes this population particularly vulnerable.”

That this first conference was held in Miami is no accident: The area has one of the largest gay populations in the country. Speakers included Kathy Greenlee, an out lesbian administrator at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department; and Rafael Bostic, a gay assistant secretary for policy development and research of the Housing & Urban Development Department.

For more on older LGBT Americans, check out AARP’s Pride page.

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