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MD's National LGBT Elders Day Salutes Unsung Gay Seniors

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National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day celebrates the contributions of overlooked gay and lesbian seniors in the United States. (Adobe Stock)
National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day celebrates the contributions of overlooked gay and lesbian seniors in the United States. (Adobe Stock)
May 15, 2020

BALTIMORE - Tomorrow is "National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day" - and with most Americans still quarantined from the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have moved the celebration online.

Sam McClure - director of the LGBT Health Resource Center at Chase Brexton Health Care in Baltimore, which inaugurated the event four years ago - is encouraging folks to submit videos that tell a story about an LGBT person over the age of 50 who made a difference in their lives.

He says that generation started the contemporary equal rights movement for the gay community, which he calls a historic accomplishment.

"Anybody doing advocacy for equity and dignity for LGBT people today does that work standing on the shoulders of giants," says McClure. "So, we take time to honor those people."

He points out that the event offsets the fact that older LBGT people are nearly absent in mainstream culture. To submit a video or view the celebration, go online to 'lgbteldersday.org' or the group's Facebook page.

McClure says the celebration will also draw attention to major issues that LGBT seniors face, such as disparities in health care. He notes a lack of knowledge of these issues among medical professionals can create dangerous situations for these patients, especially in assisted-living and nursing-care facilities.

"If they're to go into an assisted living facility, there's a lot of concern," says McClure. "Will they be welcomed? Will they be safe? If they're with their spouse, will they be able to be housed together?"

A study by the Williams Institute finds that older LGBT adults face barriers to receiving formal health care and social support that heterosexual adults do not. It also says the number of LGBT adults over age 50 in the U.S. is expected to climb from three million to over five million by 2030.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD