New Democracy Maps

Press Release

MAP and SAGE Release "Improving the Lives of LGBT Older Adults" at National "Aging in America" Conference

March 17, 2010 - A groundbreaking report released today represents the first major collaboration between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations and mainstream aging organizations to comprehensively examine the issues facing LGBT older adults.

“Improving the Lives of LGBT Older Adults” was co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) in partnership with the American Society on Aging, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the Center for American Progress, with a foreword from the AARP. The report was formally released at the American Society on Aging’s national conference, being held this year in Chicago, IL.

“This historic collaboration addresses the many challenges facing LGBT older adults and provides broad-ranging ambitious policy recommendations for those who want to help transform this landscape,” said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE.

“What will we do about the older lesbian widow who loses her family home because she is not eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, the single gay man who lives in isolation and fear in a nursing home, or the person kept from the hospital bed of a dying partner?” continued Adams. “This report outlines the issues and offers solutions, making it a much-needed roadmap for creating a society where all older adults are treated with dignity and respect.”

“Most Americans already face challenges as they age, but LGBT older adults have the added burden of a lifetime of stigma; relationships that generally lack legal recognition; and unequal treatment under laws, programs and services designed to support and protect older Americans,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP.

“Contrary to stereotypes, LGBT elders are more likely to live in poverty, face social and community isolation, and lack appropriate health care and long-term care,” continued Mushovic. “We are heartened that those who work in the field of aging are committed to improving the lives of all older Americans, and we look forward to our research and recommendations making a real difference in the lives of LGBT older adults.”

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MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

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“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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