Report Brings National Attention to LGBT Aging Issues
Espinoza, Robert, Aging Today
This past November, the National Academy on an Aging Society (the policy institute for the Gerontological Society of America) partnered with Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) to release a firstever LGBT aging issue to Public Policy & Aging Report entitled "Integrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults into Aging Policy and Practice." The issue includes articles from a dozen leaders in the LGBT community and in the field of aging, and spans a range of topics- from cultural competency training and the unique needs of transgender elders, to a discussion about better data collection, additional research on LGBT elders and more.
A Trio of Report Highlights
SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams reflects on the rapid growth in the field of LGBT aging over the last five years, and what it means for policy makers. The article describes how SAGE's emergence as a national organization has helped position LGBT aging issues at the center of numerous federal policy agendas, while garnering federal support, including a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, a training and technical assistance program. To achieve longterm change, Adams argues for a strategic focus on three areas: "Strong leadership, new resource allocations, and creative advocacy and policymaking to safeguard the interests of LGBT older people and all diverse communities have never been more important."
As our country ages, our economy flounders and the policy debate on safety net programs intensifies, a number of coalitions have risen in response, perhaps none showing more promise than the Diverse Elders Coalition, which is the focus of my article for the report. Comprising seven national organizations working with low-income elders of color and LGBT elders, this coalition has concentrated much of its initial advocacy on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, Social Security and implementing federal healthcare reform. …