11 posts categorized "Transgender"

October 8, 2014

New National Study: Five Things You Should Know About Aging and LGBT People

Today’s post is from Robert Espinoza, Senior Director for Public Policy and Communications at SAGE. It was originally featured on The Huffington Post. Follow Robert on Twitter.

Much has been written about the growing number of older people in this country (as the baby boom generation rapidly ages), as well as the incremental shift in favorable policies and attitudes toward certain segments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. However, less public attention has been placed on the intersection of these two trends: how LGBT people experience aging, beginning in midlife all the way through later life.

BLOGCovernew research reportOut and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-76—sheds new light on these issues. Based on a 2014 nationally representative study of more than 1,800 LGBT people and more than 500 non-LGBT people, Out and Visible extensively describes how LGBT people feel and experience areas such as healthcare, finance and retirement, support systems, housing and more. The study was commissioned bySAGE and led by Harris Poll.

Here are five things this new study reveals about LGBT older people’s experiences with aging.

1. LGBT older people are concerned about their financial futures and feeling that they need to work much further into later life.  Moreover, many LGBT older people rely largely on their own knowledge and education for retirement planning.

According to this new study, 42 percent of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned that they will outlive the money they have saved for retirement, as compared to 25 percent of non-LGBT people; and half of all single LGBT older believe they will need to work well beyond retirement age. These findings speak to the importance of public policies that protect and support employment among LGBT people, as well as the critical role that financial planning has on one’s retirement outlook (as two solutions). Additionally, single LGBT people have different needs than partnered LGBT people that merit specific attention (among other characteristics explored in this study).

2. LGBT older people report fearing that if their sexual orientations and gender identities become known by healthcare or long-term care providers, as two examples, they will experience judgment, discrimination and inferior care.

Out and Visible notes that 43 percent of single LGBT older people and 40 percent of LGBT older people age 60 and older say their healthcare providers don't know about their sexual orientations. Two-thirds (65 percent) of transgender older adults fear that they will experience limited access to healthcare as they age. Prior research has documented significant health disparities among LGBT older people, spurred by a combination of poor healthcare access and the stressors of stigma and discrimination. In contrast, candid communication between LGBT people and their providers could play a role in improving their quality of care and ultimately, their overall health and well-being.

3. The support networks of LGBT older people are shrinking, and the housing outlook for many LGBT older people isn't optimistic either.

This new study reveals that 40 percent of LGBT older people report that their support networks have become smaller over time, as compared to 27 percent of non-LGBT people. Additionally, one in eight (13%) LGBT people and one in four (25%) transgender people say they have been discriminated against when searching for housing on the basis of their sexual orientations and gender identities, respectively. Secure housing and a supportive network of friends are essential to all people as they age, especially in preventing poverty and social isolation—yet this study shows that LGBT people might be compromised in this regard.

4. LGBT people are diverse and not a monolith—and this study reveals distinct differences that are relevant to providers, government and the broader private sector.

Two notable examples from this study. According to this study, African American LGBT older people are three times as likely as White or Hispanic LGBT older people to say that people from their churches or faith are part of their support systems. Moreover, transgender older people tend to be more worried about being a burden to their loved ones (48% vs. 32%), and knowing where they will live as they grow older (42% vs. 27%) than their cisgender (non-transgender) peers. The study shows additional differences across income, age, relationship status and more.

5. LGBT older people aspire to take on many of the same activities as their non-LGBT peers—yet this study shows that LGBT people are more likely to want to serve as mentors and many fear what might transpire with these options if their sexual orientations and gender identities become known.

According to the study, LGBT and non-LGBT older people cite similar interests for their retirement years: taking part in leisure activities, travel, volunteering, starting a hobby, working part-time and joining social groups. However, key differences also emerged. According to the study, LGBT older people are twice as likely as non-LGBT older people to envision themselves mentoring others (14% vs. 7%). Also, one in four (27%) LGBT older people and one in three (33%) transgender older people feels that work or volunteer activities will not be open to him/her if others know about his/her sexual orientation and gender identity, respectively. 

This study builds on a growing body of research over the last few years that has increasingly, though insufficiently, studied aging concerns among LGBT older people.The report also offers a host of recommendations for leaders in the public and private sectors, most of which are largely centered on the importance of becoming more responsive to the diversity of LGBT people as they age. We’re all aging, regardless of where we fall on the age spectrum, and we deserve to age into systems that enrich our lives, not hinder them.  In this sense, we can all play a role in building a more equitable society.

April 28, 2014

NRC Offers Two NEW Trainings this Spring!

TimToday's post is written by Tim Johnston, SAGE's Manager of Education and Training for the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is pleased to announce the launch of two new webinars, Embracing LGBT Older Adults of Color and Transgender Aging: What Service Providers Need (and Don't Need!) to Know.

A webinar is a presentation and discussion that takes place over the internet. Participants can interact with the presenter through polls, Q&A, and video or audio connections. Webinars are a great way to reach people working in remote or rural communities, as well people with jobs or hours that make it difficult to attend in-person trainings.

Why are we focusing on LGBT older adults of color and transgender older adults?

First, we want to draw attention to the fact that while the LGBT population is just as diverse as the non-LGBT population, the needs of LGBT older adults of color are often under addressed by both LGBT and aging network organizations. The webinar begins with video interviews to help participants understand the experience of LBGT older adults of color. Next, we learn about pioneering LGBT people of color in order to question our own prejudices and misconceptions around race and ethnicity. Finally, we discuss ways to create organizations that welcome and include LGBT older adults of color.

Second, many people may know or work with lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, but have much less experience working with transgender older adults. Transgender Aging: What Service Providers Need (and Don't Need!) to Know introduces participants to the basics of the transgender experience, with a focus on how to provide respectful and affirming care for transgender older adults. Some of the topics include what it means to transition, how to ask about transgender status in an appropriate and respectful way, and a set of best practices for working with transgender older adults.

These two webinars join our highly successful Introduction to LGBT Aging. Launched in January 2014, Introduction of LGBT Aging has already reached service providers in 12 states. It is our hope that these easily accessible and highly engaging online presentations will continue to educate people across the country.

For more information, or to schedule a live webinar, please contact Tim R. Johnston, Manager of Education and Training at 212-741-2247 or tjohnston@sageusa.org.

February 11, 2014

Four Amazing Women of Color Share Their Stories

In honor of February being African American History Month, SAGE will be highlighting our diverse programs, constituents and stories relevant to black aging. Check back for featured stories every Tuesday, with additional posts throughout the month.

Our stories connect us and allow us to share common bonds through the use of words, pictures, music and video. Today, we would like to share stories from four African American women from around the country. Each of their voices and stories are different, but all share the desire for recognition and hope for the future. If you have a story to share, please tell us by visiting our SAGE Story portal on the SAGE website.

Cheryl & Elizabeth, SAGE Wilmington of the Cape Fear Coast, North Carolina
The two tell us about how despite growing up in faith-based traditions that did not affirm their being lesbians, they somehow met at church. They explain how their faith joined them together and how 10 years later, they are still together and still in church and are accepted in their community!


FrancesFrances, SAGE Harlem, New York City
Frances, 72, is a lover of Zumba and food! She shares her experience of having a stroke and how her lover of 20 years was so supportive and caring of her in the hospital. She wants women to know that they have the power and strength to get better after a debilitating situation such as herself. Listen to her story, recorded in 2013 for SAGE Story, below.

 


Helena Bushong2Helena, SAGE Center on Halsted, Chicago
Helena, a transgender older adult diagnosed with HIV, shares her powerful story in a wonderful essay. She writes, "the most important thing I learned in accepting myself as transgender and also living with HIV/AIDS was about stigma.  I realized that my fear of disclosing my HIV/AIDS status was extremely unhealthy and only contributed to my loneliness and isolation, and would cause me to indeed die faster." Read an excerpt below and the whole story here.

My name is Helena and I am a 60-year-old transgender female living with HIV. I am not a victim. An HIV/AIDS diagnosis is NOT a death sentence, but is similar to living with breast cancer or diabetes, which through some lifestyle changes, are manageable diseases.

I was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in 2002, and was told I would not live more than six months, and at best, a year. Along with my doctors, I believe that I was a "late tester," meaning because I was diagnosed with AIDS—a late stage infection—and not HIV, I likely contracted HIV 15 to 20 years before showing any sign or symptoms. Because people can carry HIV/AIDS asymptomatically, it is important to be tested on a regular basis to avoid a late test and spreading the disease.

Read her whole story here.

November 20, 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance

502px-Candle_in_the_darkIn honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), The SAGE Center will be hosting a special event tonight at The SAGE Center from 6-7 pm.  TDOR was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and became an important memorial that now occurs every year. Feel like marching?  The East Harlem/Bronx LGBT Task Force will hold its first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance March and Vigil this evening. The march will start at 6:00 pm at 138th St. & 3rd Ave in the Bronx and will be marching to the Harlem State Office Building (125th & 7th Ave.).

SAGE honors the transgender community and recognizes the difficulty they face, especially in aging. For anyone interested in transgender aging issues, please check out all of our transgender resources, including our groundbreaking report, Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults.

June 25, 2013

A Social Security Win for Transgender People

Today’s post is from Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations, on exciting news from the Social Security Administration.

TransagingreportIn 2011 SAGE and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) launched a historic Transgender Aging Advocacy Initiative to outline the many policy and practice barriers facing transgender and gender non-conforming older adults, as well as some key solutions for addressing these barriers.  One of our top policy priorities was asking the Social Security Administration (SSA) to eliminate gender as a data field in all of its automated verification programs, and to update policies to permit an individual to change the gender designation in her or his SSA record based on a letter from a physician stating that she or he has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

Pursuant to that goal, in January of this year, the Alliance for Retired Americans and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare worked alongside SAGE to partner with more than two dozen aging organizations from the Leadership Council of Aging organizations, in a letter to the SSA Commissioner advocating for these changes.   

And earlier this month, after years of advocacy spearheaded by NCTE, SSA announced groundbreaking advances in how transgender individuals, including transgender older adults, will be able to able to change their gender with the SSA, consistent with the requests outlined above.

As NCTE outlines:

Social Security will accept any of the following forms of evidence for a gender marker change:

  • A U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
  • A birth certificate showing the correct gender,
  • A court order recognizing the correct gender, or
  • A signed letter from a [provider] confirming that you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition

NCTE provides detailed advice on its website, addressing a number of questions, including the impact of this change on Social Security benefits, health benefits, and marriage-related benefits.

For additional information, visit transequality.org and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

June 20, 2013

Act Now to Help Prevent LGBT Older Adults From Aging Back Into the Closet

This post was originally featured on The Huffington Post. Read the original post here.

Claire Pomeroy, M.D., M.B.A., is President of the Lasker Foundation. This post details the importance of helping LGBT older adults age with the dignity and respect they deserve.

DSCF2614Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults are pioneers who bravely pushed open the doors to coming out. It is unconscionable that many of these leaders of social justice are forced to retreat into the closet as they age. The troubling reality is that the U.S. lacks a complete understanding of the LGBT senior community and is particularly unprepared for the needs of LGBT older adults at the intersection of multiple disadvantaged populations, such as LGBT seniors who are people of color, disabled, living with HIV/AIDS, undocumented immigrants or socioeconomically marginalized.

Many LGBT seniors fear that the health-care system is judgmental and have experienced discriminatory care or lack access to culturally competent aging services. To address this crisis, the U.S. must adopt a new perspective that emphasizes health, rather than just health care. All sectors of society must come together with a renewed sense of social responsibility that focuses on social determinants of health -- a holistic view of everyday factors that impact the health, economic and social well-being of LGBT seniors.

Continue reading "Act Now to Help Prevent LGBT Older Adults From Aging Back Into the Closet" »

May 8, 2013

Unleash the Power of Age

May is Older Americans Month, a proud tradition that shows our commitment to honoring the value that elders contribute to our communities. The official site encourages all of us to show our support for Older Americans Month by unleashing the power of age in our community. For the month of May, we will feature a story every Wednesday honoring the power LGBT elders possess.

Today’s post focuses on Joanne Borden, a WWII veteran, grandmother and transgender elder
who fiercely advocates for her community. Most recently, she is working alongside the Empire State Pride Agenda to raise awareness about the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and bringing it over the finish line this legislative session.

Watch her powerful story here: 

Continue reading "Unleash the Power of Age" »

May 6, 2013

StoryCorps: A Transgender Woman’s Journey from Hiding to “Walking in Love”

Martineza_lg_npr-5a298a4bdea164d2a0106721efae0582bd1516a0-s3
Alexis Martinez (left) and her daughter Lesley
Alexis Martinez grew up in a rough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side in the early 1960s. She knew she was transgender from an early age.

Alexis (whose birth name is Arthur) struggled with her identity, as did her family. At 13, she came out as transgender to her mother. Alexis’ mother called the police, who laughed and told her, “You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it.”

As a result, Alexis joined a gang and “went as macho as [she] could be, to mask what [she] really was underneath.” 

Alexis has a daughter, who accepts her for who she is. Says her daughter Lesley: "You don't have to apologize. You don't have to tiptoe. We're not going to cut you off. And that is something that I've always wanted you to, you know, just know—that you're loved."

Continue reading "StoryCorps: A Transgender Woman’s Journey from Hiding to “Walking in Love”" »

April 30, 2013

Equality & Justice Day: Sending a Clear Message to Congress to Pass GENDA

Today's post is by Alli Auldridge, SAGE Policy Associate.

 

SAGE at E & J Day 027
E&J Day 2012
This morning I boarded a bus at 6:30 am, along with SAGE constituents and fellow staff. We are traveling three hours from New York City to the capitol building in Albany for Equality & Justice Day (simply known as E&J Day). This annual lobbying event is organized by the Empire State Pride Agenda for LGBT New Yorkers—a time for rallies and workshops, networking with statewide advocates and meetings with legislators. SAGE advocates have attended E&J Day every year—indeed 2013 will mark constituent Rodney Adams' 12th year of participation!

 

This year, LGBT advocates of all ages are hoping to send a loud and clear message to elected officials: pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). GENDA would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression and offer uniform protections for transgender New Yorkers across the state. Recent GENDA campaigns by Housing Works, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the Empire State Pride Agenda and others have highlighted the personal stories of discrimination and bias experienced by transgender New Yorkers and increased the call for the passage of GENDA in 2013. All of us at SAGE are eager to join with other LGBT advocates and make our voices heard at E&J Day.

Stay tuned to SAGE's Facebook and Twitter pages for updates from Albany throughout the day!

March 18, 2013

Diverse Elders Coalition Blog Re-launches!

Meme1The Diverse Elders Coalition is made up of five national organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for this country’s diverse aging communities.

Together, we represent a growing majority of millions of older people throughout the country—racially and ethnically diverse older adults; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults; and poor and low-income older adults. We have come together to promote policy changes and programmatic solutions that respond to this demographic shift and will remove the barriers facing our communities. We envision a world where all older adults can live full and active lives as they age.

Read about the re-launch here.