Congress Holding Hearing on Gay Aging

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com April 21 2010 5:10 PM ET

A hearing in Congress on Thursday will address issues surrounding LGBT senior citizens, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force, said in a press release that the oldest LGBT people are often "invisible to many of us and ignored by most institutions in our society." She added, "We know that invisibility leads to greater social isolation, which can lead to increased vulnerability in many areas. We also know that discrimination across the lifespan leaves LGBT people economically and socially vulnerable as they age. There are many challenges but we also have concrete recommendations on how aging advocates, policy makers and social service agencies can meet them."

Speakers scheduled to address Congress include Lauri Young, the Task Force's aging analyst;  Hope Barrett, director of elder affairs for the Howard Brown Health Center; Harper Jean Tobin, policy counsel for the National Center for Transgender Equality; Joyce Pierson, elder rights advocate and former National Center for Lesbian Rights staffer; and John Johnson, the federal director of governmental affairs for Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE).

In addition to the hearing, SAGE and the Task Force are convening at a National LGBT Aging Roundtable in Washington, D.C., this week.