June 24, 2024

During Pride Month, Wyden Joins Bill to Support LGBTQ+ Older Americans

The Elder Pride Act would provide $5 million for programs dedicated to LGBTQ+ older adults

Washington, D.C. — U. S. Senator Ron Wyden today joined his colleagues in introducing a bill to support LGBTQ+ older adults and older adults with HIV in Oregon and nationwide. 

The Elder Pride Act would establish an Office of LGBTQ+ Inclusion within the Department of Health and Human Services to gather information on the challenges experienced by LGBTQ+ older adults. In addition, the bill would advocate, coordinate activities, and recommend policies for LGBTQ+ older adults. 

“As we work with the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month and throughout the year, we can’t leave behind those who may struggle as they age,” Wyden said. “LGBTQ+ older adults are often snubbed by the health and social services they need to live care-free. The Elder Pride Act will help everyone age happily and healthily no matter who they are or who they love.”

Compared to their cisgender and heterosexual peers, LGBTQ+ elders have fewer sources of support, face higher poverty rates, struggle to access health services, and experience poorer health care outcomes. As the number of LGBTQ+ older adults is estimated to increase to 7 million by 2030, the need to coordinate LGBTQ+ services and agencies only grows. However, less than half of the agencies report they would be able to provide or fund LGBTQ+-specific services. 

In addition to Wyden, cosponsors of the bill introduced by U. S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) include U. S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). 

Groups endorsing the bill include SAGE, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, MAZON: a Jewish Response to Hunger, interACT, National Council on Aging, Gerontological Society of America, American Society on Aging, Justice in Aging, National Women’s Law Center, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, Grantmakers in Aging, Grantmakers in Health, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, LeadingAge, Whitman-Walker Institute, Fenway Health, New England Rural Health Association, and Transhealth. 

The text of the bill is here.