Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) Elders

“Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender older people who fought the first battles for equality now face so much fear of discrimination, bullying and abuse that many are hiding their lives to survive. Thousands are dying earlier than their straight counterparts because they are isolated and afraid to ask for help. But a growing number of people are fighting to keep LGBT aging from meaning aging in silence.”

 Credit:  Stu Maddux: http://gensilent.com/

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The AAAPP, in developing its three-year Area Plan (2013-2015) and 2016 Update for Planning and Service Area 5, created two activities related to LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) Elders in order to address some objectives in Florida’s State Plan on Aging.

The AAAPP’s Area Plan objectives are:

1) Identify and develop relationships with groups and/or individuals who identify with the LGBT community who can act as resources to the AAAPP in order to gain awareness, sensitivity, and education on competent long-term care and service options with the 2013-2016 Area Plan Cycle.

2) Educate for-profit and non-profit service providers about the special needs of aging individuals who identify with the LGBT community with the 2013-2016 Area Plan Cycle.

In response to the above objectives, the LGBT Elder Initiative of Pasco and Pinellas was formed.  Its mission statement is:  The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Elder Initiative builds bridges between the Elder Services market and the LGBT elder community in order to advocate, inform and educate on behalf of LGBT elders. It meets monthly and is composed of persons who identify themselves as LGBT, persons who represent LGBT elders, and persons (allies) who are supportive of LGBT elders and wish to increase awareness and sensitivity in their own organization.  Participation is open to any interested parties.

Since 2013, the LGBT Elder Initiative has accomplished the following

  • Assisted St Petersburg College with a day-long seminar on “Building Awareness of the Needs of the Geriatric LGBT Patient”
  • Identified standards for “gay-friendly” organizations
  • Identified community resources in certain key service components available to LGBT elders
  • Participated in a 30 minute TV production with the AAAPP’s “Aging on the Suncoast” show (see video below)
  • Developed a “Tip Sheet” (click here for PDF) to assist businesses to become more LGBT inclusive
  • Conducted a “Brunch and Learn” which allowed businesses to learn more about inclusivity while networking with fellow professionals.

Effective August 2015, the Initiative was merged into the AAAPP’s Better Living for Seniors (BLS) Initiative and now operates as a subcommittee under an umbrella of “Elder Advocacy”.  For more information, please go to the BLS website for committee information.

“Aging on the Suncoast” TV show featuring members of the LGBT Elder Initiative: 

The AAAPP is appreciative of the following persons/organizations for substantially contributing to the accomplishments of the LGBT Elder Initiative:

Catherine Blackburn, Blackburn Law Firm
Mel Coppola, Hearts in Care
Heidi Crockett, Aging Care Advocates
Barb Green, ASAP (Aids Service Association of Pinellas, Inc.)
Peg Macaluso, Alzheimer’s Association, FL Gulf Coast Chapter
Meg Mairn, Griswold Home Care
Ginny Moore, Advocacy4Aging
Alexis Nguyen, Assisting Hands Home Care
Val Palla, Institute for Elder Care Resources
Ashley Richards, The Health Councils
Lanona Robinson, St Petersburg College
Chris Rudisill, Metro Wellness and Community Centers
Joseph FX Smith, Advocacy for Rainbow (LGBT) Elders
Alison Solomon

 

For information about this Initiative, contact Helen King at 727-570-9696, ext. 210.