What you need to know about LGBT-friendly services
Some people may think that being “out” (disclosing your sexual orientation and/or gender identity) to aging-service providers or health-care practitioners is not important, or they may not see the benefits of accessing aging services that are inclusive and culturally competent. Consequently, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, LGBT seniors are five times less likely to use aging-related services than their heterosexual peers as a result of fear, but have a far greater need for those services. Additionally, a 2007 study, “Improving the Lives of Older Adults,” found that a majority of the nearly 650 LGBT people studied reported being abused or neglected by staff, or isolated from and/or discriminated against by other residents. Finally, the Public Health Management Corporation just released results from a state-funded survey that found that nearly 40 percent of participants reported at least one discriminatory experience in a health-care setting, which included 13 percent who were denied access to health care and 22 percent who said they had to hide their identity from a provider. About 11 percent experienced abusive language from a provider.
Knowing someone’s sexual orientation is different from knowing about that person’s sex life. Sexuality, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is an integral part of one’s identity, LGBT or straight. If a provider doesn’t really know their clients/patients, how can he or she ensure the person’s needs are being addressed and they are receiving appropriate services?
Read more:PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.
For more information about the LGBTEI's cultural competency training program, the Silver Rainbow Project: www.lgbtei.org/p/training_4.html