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.