Presidential Executive Orders are based on powers granted to the President by the Constitution that can provide the administration the ability to act on some types of legislative issues that Congress does not or has not. The Equality Act is one of those legislative initiatives in a stalemate in Washington.
Biden’s 6/15/2022 Executive Order states “Today, unrelenting political and legislative attacks at the State level — on LGBTQI+ children and families in particular — threaten the civil rights gains of the last half century and put LGBTQI+ people at risk. These attacks defy our American values of liberty and dignity, corrode our democracy, and threaten basic personal safety…. It is therefore the policy of my Administration to combat unlawful discrimination and eliminate disparities that harm LGBTQI+ individuals and their families, defend their rights and safety, and pursue a comprehensive approach to delivering the full promise of equality for LGBTQI+ individuals, consistent with Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021 (Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation).”
LGBT Senior Housing and Care is grateful to President Joseph Biden for this Executive Order which provides much needed protections to the LGBTQ+ community. Especially significant are the measures included on behalf of the LGBTQ+ older adult community, those specific to SOGI data collection and establishing the LGBTQ+ older adult community as one of the “greatest social need” for purposes of targeting outreach, service provision, and funding under the Older Americans Act.
Only three states in the nation have any LGBTQ+ older adult state level protections. 27 states have antidiscrimination protections supporting the general LGBTQ+ community. Data on LGBTQ+ older adults, the barriers to services and healthcare, housing and financial needs is limited, gathered mostly by private or academic sources with small and localized sample groups. The effort of the federal government to collect data across the nation and identifying this group as one of “greatest social need” will enable all of us who serve the LGBTQ+ older adult community to do so more effectively with a greater and more current understanding of the need, and additional opportunities for funding sources for services and programs focused on LGBTQ+ older adults.
Some of the actions for strengthening supports for LGBTQI+ older adults include:
Developing and publishing “Bill of Rights for LGBTQI+ Older Adults,” to support LGBTQI+ older adults and providers in understanding the rights of LGBTQI+ older adults in long-term care settings.
Considering whether to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to clarify that LGBTQI+ individuals are included in the definition of “greatest social need” for purposes of targeting outreach, service provision, and funding under the Older Americans Act.
Considering ways to improve and increase appropriate data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity in surveys on older adults, including by providing technical assistance to States on the collection of such data.
Establishing a subcommittee on SOGI data to coordinate with agencies on strengthening the Federal Government’s collection of SOGI data to advance equity for LGBTQI+ individuals.
“As one of the facilitators for the creation of New Jersey’s LGBTQI+/HIV+ Long Term Care Bill of Rights and as a primary educator to long-term care providers and other professional services, housing and healthcare providers of older adults in LGBTQ+ Affirming Sensitivity programs and NJS2545, we are excited about and thank President Biden for the LGBTQ+, equitable administrative policies required by this executive order,” said Amy Simon CEO, Managing Partner LGBT Senior Housing and Care.