News Sunshine State

Coffee And Conversation Talks LGBT Senior Care With Congressman Ted Deutch

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Jameer Baptiste
Written by Jameer Baptiste

FORT LAUDERDALE–On Tuesday, January 14, 2016, The Pride Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida hosted their recurring weekly LGBT senior meeting, Coffee and Conversation, with special guest speaker Congressman Ted Deutch.

Coffee and Conversation serves as a vital meeting place where LGBT seniors can socialize with one another and learn about resources available to them in the area as well as new LGBT senior initiatives both locally and nationally. The Pride Center’s Coffee and Conversation is held weekly on every Tuesday of every month.

“Loneliness and isolation are two of the most detrimental factors in the lives of many LGBT seniors,” commented Bruce Williams, The Pride Center’s Senior Service Coordinator. “Coffee and Conversation provides our LGBT Seniors a place where they can gather and socialize while also giving them an opportunity to remain aware of what is going on in their community.”

Congressman and Vice Chair of the Equality Caucus in Washington D.C. Ted Deutch (FL-21) spoke to the lively crowd of more than 200 to communicate a new bill he and two other United States Representatives, Congressman Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act is intended to improve the already enacted Older Americans Act (OAA). The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act focuses on how to better serve LGBT seniors since the OAA, as it stands currently, doesn’t take into account the plight of the LGBT senior community.

Stated in the Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder American Act Press Release, “LGBT seniors face higher rates of poverty, pronounced social isolation and less access to health care due to barriers in the aging system and past discrimination.”

“LGBT seniors have a history of being an invisible group. Bluntly, we have been left out and ignored,” says Williams. “With prevalent homophobia, hostility and intolerance, there has been little concern for providing quality medical care that meets the specific needs of LGBT seniors. Any legislation that works to change that can support and impact our efforts a great deal.”

The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder American Act Press Release claims that if enacted the bill will amend the OAA to better care for LGBT seniors and provide equal treatment by including LGBT seniors as a vulnerable population, prioritizing grant opportunities for organizations focused on improving LGBT health and long-term care, and permanently establishing the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging to address the unique needs of this population.

Currently, the Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder American Act has been assigned to a congressional committee, which will consider the bill before possibly send it out to the House or Senate as a whole.

To stay informed visit  www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3793  and track the progress of the bill.