Historic Breakthrough: Federal Aging Report Explicitly Includes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgend

CivilRights.org – Robert Sklar

The long-awaited Final Report of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), released by the Administration on Aging, marks a milestone in the fight for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders. Months of intensive organizing, including town hall meetings held around the country and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force-convened Make Room for All diversity summit last December — a counterpoint to the WHCoA — have paid off in the explicit inclusion of LGBT elders in the report.

Resolution 34, for example, includes the following implementation strategy: “Expand the definition of minority populations to include — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders [sic] and seniors with disabilities, and increase federal funding to NIH, CDC, Title 3 and other federal agencies to reduce health disparities and promote health promotion programming for all minority populations.”

LGBT elders and their advocates converged on the nation’s capital last December for Make Room for All: A National Summit and Hearing on the Recommended Priorities for the WHCoA: Diversity, Cultural Competency and Discrimination in an Aging America. Sponsored by the Task Force, the event highlighted the growing diversity of the country’s aging population, as well as the challenges that diversity presents to policymakers and service providers.