Category Archives: Living with AIDS
Successful aging requires access to approximate housing, quality health care, and supportive services – needs that will challenge and transform the system entrusted with providing these services for a rapidly expanding aging population. At the same time, the growing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors and their increasing degree of openness and demands for fair and equal treatment are further challenging the elder care system to meet the needs of all seniors. This shift signals the urgent need to radically transform and redesign gerontological and geriatric health care paradigms.
Older Americans are also growing more radically and ethnically diverse. In 2000, an estimated 84 percent of persons aging 65 and older were non-Hispanic white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent was Native American/Alaska Native.
By 2050, estimates indicate that approximately 64 percent of persons age 65 or older will be non-Hispanic white, 16 percent will be Hispanic, 12 percent will be non-Hispanic black, and 7 percent will be Asian/Pacific Islanders. Service providers must take this growing diversity into account as they strive to provide quality services that genuinely meet seniors needs.
All elders contend with many of the same aging-related issues, however, LGBT seniors and people of color (POC) LGBT in particular face many unique challenges. These seniors are “thrice-Hidden” due to social discrimination on levels: ageism, racism, homophobia and heteroism.
LGBT seniors often face anti-gay to gender discrimination by mainstream elders care providers that renders them “invisible” and impedes their access to vital services. At the same time, LGBT elders frequently confront ageism within the LGBT community and the organizations created to serve the community’s needs.
This First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging is a collective declaration of the urgent need to reframe and transform the conventional “aging” health care landscape as it directly impacts POC LGBT elders. We must move beyond problem solving in isolation to forging sustainable and innovative collaboration among aging, health and LGBT network.
It is essential to collectively advocate for the integration of both ethno-geriatrics and adult transformational learning into all aspects of health care delivery for POC LGBT elders. This is a crucial time for advocates to communicate, hold each other accountable and present a untied front, especially during this period of national debate over the future of federal programs critical to the well-being of seniors.
VP, Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer, HR Group
Oct. 11, 2011, Washington, D.C. — Professionals on aging in the people of color LGBT community arrived in the nation’s capital today for the First National POC LGBT Convening on Aging. The two-day convening intends to build a network that strengthens alliances and fosters ongoing collaborations and broader discourse on issues, challenges and policies that effect the elder POC LGBT community. The conference is a collaboration of the American Society on Aging‘s LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) and GRIOT Circle, and is hosted at Brickfield Center with generous support from AARP and funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies.
The networking and opening reception allowed colleagues to meet and greet, some for the first time, and break bread together, before tackling the itinerary of workshops, small group sessions and facilitated panel dialogues on Wednesday and Thursday. The evening closed with attendees screening three short film projects that document the trials and triumphs of some members of the elder POC LGBT community. Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse in San Francisco showed her work-in-progress, GRIOT Circle shared the first installment of its Elders Speak series, and Hope Barrett of Center on Halsted in Chicago showed a portion of their documentary on LGBT elders living with HIV.
In effort to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals, GRIOT Circle provides post #4 in this Q&A series.
Please use the comment tab at the bottom of this post to expand the discussion on this topic and present your questions.
WHERE CAN I WATCH OR READ A REPORT OF WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TWO-DAY CONVENING IN D.C.?
Another intended outcome of the Convening will be written reports of all interactions, discussions, decisions, suggestions made there. We’re having a team of volunteers who will ensure faithful and detailed transcriptions will be shared with our funder and the general public. These documents will also be made available on GRIOT Circle’s website and Blog.
As stated earlier, this Convening marks a historic moment in U.S. public health where the needs of the POC LGBT elder community will be addressed competently and openly.
WILL ISSUES FACED BY CAREGIVERS BE ADDRESSED AND SOLVED?
Absolutely! One major challenge to chronic health care disparities is provider cultural competency or lack thereof. It’s easy to talk about promoting positive health behaviors and encouraging healthier lifestyles among the POC LGBT elders, but it’s quite another thing to translate this into language, tools and concepts readily accessible to this population. Cultural competence, at the provider level and at the institutional level, is a key goal of education on POC LGBT aging health issues. A provider’s lack of cultural competence has been shown to negatively affect not only provider-patient interaction and care-giving, but also the patient’s care seeking behavior. Conversely, it’s a well established health care fact that the provisions of health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients can help close the gap in health care outcomes.
A documentary that traces the life journey of Glenn Burke, the first Black Major League Baseball player to publicly embrace his gay identity, will air on the Versus (VS) Network on Wed., August 17 @ 11pm EST. Check your local cable TV schedule for OUT. The Glenn Burke Story on the Versus Network or NBC Sports.
Burke, who came out while he was still a Major League Baseball player, paved the way for LGBT pro athletes. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series against the NY Yankees, and is credited with inventing the “high five” in 1977 when he congratulated Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker for hitting a home run in the last game of the regular season. Burke was traded to the A’s out of Oakland and was compared to the legendary Willie Mays.
QUOTE FROM FILM — Vincent Trahan (Burke’s classmate):
On Dodger management and their suspicions: “Al Campanis and Walter O’Malley had called him into the office and offered him $75,000 to get married. And Glenn, being his comic self, said, ‘I guess you mean to a woman?’”
The documentary navigates viewers through Burke’s career ascent from the streets of Oakland and moments around his coming out in 1982, then traces his heart-wrenching downfall due to drug addiction, and his diagnosis with AIDS in 1994.
Watch clip from film now, click here –> OUT. The Glenn Burke Story.