Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

McKnight’s reported on a growing issue in the nursing home industry. Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the leading advocacy group for LGBT seniors. They encourage specialized inclusivity training to help providers avoid uncomfortable, awkward, or discriminatory situations.

Recently, “dozens” of facilities rejected a U.S. Army veteran because she is transgender. USA Today reported on Lisa Oakley’s horrible experience. Oakley described her experience of searching for a long-term care facility after a facility in her small town rejected her.

“When they found out I was transgender, a lot of facilities didn’t want me. A lot of transgender people, I’m sure, face the same thing. We’re humans, just like everybody else.”

More than 60 facilities denied her service after she gave a lifetime of service to America.

Sherrill Wayland is the director of national education initiatives for SAGE. 29 states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.  She told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:

“When long-term care providers commit to LGBTQ+ inclusivity, they open their doors to serving [and] meeting the diverse needs of their communities.”

Williams Institute based at the UCLA School of Law states 7% of adults aged 65 and older are LGBT. A SAGE Out and Visible report found that 13% of LGBTQ+ adults and 25% of transgender adults were discriminated against when searching for housing.

“Long-term care residential providers can take part in the Long-term Care Equality Index (LEI), a program of SAGE and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” Wayland said. “The LEI works with residential providers to adopt policies and best practices that provide culturally competent and responsive care to LGBTQ+ older adults.”