October 23, 2018 at 12:10 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Bill to protect rights of LGBT seniors introduced in D.C. Council
LGBTQ seniors, Mary Cheh, gay news, Washington Blade

‘The legislation I’m introducing today would establish a ‘Bill of Rights’ for seniors living in these facilities,’ said Mary Cheh. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) last week introduced legislation calling for protecting LGBT seniors and seniors living with HIV in long-term care facilities from discrimination.

The legislation, the Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2018, would also make other changes to ensure that D.C. can access federal funding under the Older Americans Act to provide services to “this underserved community,” Cheh said in a statement.

“Many LGBTQ seniors and seniors with HIV report having experienced discrimination and social stigmatization throughout their lives,” said Cheh, the author of the legislation. “What’s more, these seniors are also more likely to have been subjected to institutionalized discrimination when accessing health care and social services, making them statistically less likely to seek out medical or palliative care,” she said.

“The legislation I’m introducing today would establish a ‘Bill of Rights’ for seniors living in these facilities, ensuring that they are treated respectfully and appropriately,” Cheh said. “Importantly, the legislation also mandates cultural competency training for caregivers in long-term care facilities, helping ensure that caregivers have the know-how to provide appropriate care to these seniors.”

Cheh noted that the legislation would “define LGBTQ seniors and seniors with HIV as a group of ‘greatest social need,’ a designation that will enable the District to access federal funding under the Older Americans Act to provide programming for this community.”

Each of the remaining 11 Council members, including Council Chair Phil Mendelson, signed on as co-sponsors to the legislation.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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