California Governor Signs Bill to Protect LGBTQ
California Governor Signs Bill to Protect LGBTQ

In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill outlining a “bill of rights” for LGBTQ seniors in long-term care. SB 219 was written to protect LGBTQ seniors from suffering abuse and discrimination while receiving long-term care.

A 2011 study of LGBTQ seniors and family members found that 43% of seniors in long-term care had been abused by caretakers, or had witnessed the abuse of their senior family members by caretakers. However, the actual number is likely higher, as many cases go undocumented.

Abuse of these seniors can take many forms. Some might be denied care at a facility because of their orientation. Others might be evicted from their facility. Some might be forced to share a room with homophobic roommates, or to be separated from their partners.

The Protections of SB 219

SB 219 protects seniors from this discrimination by prohibiting long-term care facilities from denying admission or evicting a resident based on sexual orientation. It also prohibits facilities from refusing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun. Additionally, facilities cannot transfer a resident based on anti-LGBTQ attitudes of other residents.

“LGBTQ seniors should be subject to the same standard of care as anyone receiving long-term care,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

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