Five US Senators are putting the needs of elder LGBT Americans front and center.
Tammy Baldwin (WI), the first openly gay US Senator, along with Senators Michael Bennet (CO), Jeff Merkley (OR), Edward Markey (MA) and Al Franken (MN), all Democrats, introduced the LGBT Elder Americans Act today.
This bill adds on to the Older Americans Act of 1965. It includes LGBT seniors within the scope of that original bill.
Furthermore, it places them ‘as a vulnerable population’ and seeks to ‘permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging’. It would be the country’s first and only resource ‘aimed at improving the quality of services and support for older LGBT adults’.
By 2030, the number of LGBT seniors is expected to double to three million.
‘Our LGBT seniors helped build this country’
‘Too many LGBT older adults carry the harmful physical and emotional health effects of having lived through a lifetime of discrimination,’ said Baldwin.
Her fellow Senators joined her by releasing statements about the Act.
Bennet further stated the importance of healthcare access: ‘This legislation would provide LGBT seniors, who often face significant barriers to accessing health care, with targeted services and resources.’
‘LGBT seniors can face unique challenges and have few LGBT-specific resources to help them cope,’ said Merkley. ‘It’s time to end that hurdle to services and pass the LGBT Elder Americans Act.’
Markey continued: ‘Our LGBT seniors helped build this country, and we owe them dignity and access to services that address their specific needs.’
Finally, Franken also expressed his support to co-sponsor the bill. He said: ‘We need to do all we can to support seniors in Minnesota and across the nation so that they can age safely and access vital programs that enrich their lives.’
You can read the bill in its entirety here.