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SACRAMENTO, Calif. --Assembly Bill 663, which will help ensure that LGBT seniors get respectful and competent elder care by integrating LGBT cultural competency instruction into the training received by residential care facility administrators, passed the Senate today with bipartisan support by a vote of 26-11.
The bill, which was authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez and sponsored by Equality California and the California Senior Legislature (CSL), now advances to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
“I am pleased that the state legislature has taken this state another step toward full equality and opportunity for all members of the LGBT community,” Gomez said.
“LGBT seniors are amongst the most vulnerable in our population and through Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez’s leadership we are one step closer to better protecting them,” said John O’Connor, Equality California executive director. “LGBT pioneers should live out their final years with dignity – not go back in the closet for fear of discrimination.”
Nationwide, there are an estimated 1.5 million LGBT elders, with that number projected to double by 2030. This is also the first generation to navigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on aging and health. By integrating cultural competency training for residential care administrators into the normal set of classes, LGBT seniors will worry less about being forced back into the closet.
“This was a true partnership between Assemblymember Gomez, EQCA and the California Senior Legislature,” said Shirley Krohn, Senior Assemblymember with the CSL. “Collectively, we recognized the isolation, neglect, discrimination and substandard care this community has had to endure over the years. The need to sensitize facility personnel that this burgeoning population needs to be treated equally became an imperative for us.”
Equality California (EQCA) is a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment.
The California Senior Legislature has been in existence for over 32 years. This group of robust seniors research and write legislation impacting our aging population.