License to Discriminate Would Threaten LGBT Seniors

Author: Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders
Published: Tuesday 14th February 2017
Summary: SAGE and LGBT elder constituents troubled by reports indicating the President intends to sign an order that would allow religious-based discrimination in federally-supported services and programs.

SAGE stands firmly against possible executive order promoting anti-LGBT Discrimination. SAGE and our LGBT elder constituents are deeply troubled by detailed media reports indicating that the President intends to sign an unprecedented, sweeping order that would allow religious-based discrimination in federally-supported services and programs. As reported, the Executive Order would subject many millions of Americans -- including LGBT people and women in need of health care -- to pernicious bias and mistreatment.

If signed, this Executive Order would give license to discriminate against LGBT elders in hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service settings where elders are highly vulnerable and desperately need care and support. It gives permission to deny LGBT older adults tax-payer-funded home delivered meals and meals at senior centers. And it provides a sweeping license to discriminate in the provision of any number of other critical aging services and supports.

Freedom of religion is an important, core American value. But it cannot be used to endorse profound discrimination and mistreatment of any community -- including LGBT elders -- in federally supported services and programs. The implementation of such an Executive Order would not only stigmatize, but endanger the lives of LGBT elders in the places, spaces, and times in their lives in which they are most vulnerable.

Many LGBT elders rely on religiously affiliated entities to provide the food on their plate, the roof over their head, and the critical services and supports that empower them to remain independent, in their homes, in communities across the country. No one wants to enter longer-term care or have a caregiver in their home. But when this happens, LGBT elders and their non-LGBT peers alike, all deserve to be treated with equality, respect and dignity.

This Executive Order must never see the light of day. SAGE and LGBT elders will do everything within our power to prevent such a gross abdication of our responsibility as a country and as service providers to treat each other as equal citizens under the laws and to respect and care for each other.

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare.

With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at and

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