LGBT Aging Project, Ethos and MassEquality testified at the State House before the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of a bill calling for the creation of a special Commission on LGBT Aging. If passed, the bill would create a commission to investigate, analyze and study state policies and regulations as well as the health, housing, financial, psycho-social and long-term care needs of older LGBT adults and their caregivers.
The commission would also make recommendations to improve access to benefits and services where appropriate and necessary. Frank LaPiana, 71, from the North Shore gave a very personal testimony and underscored how vulnerable he and his peers feel as they age alone without the support of family or a partner. He highlighted several examples of the discrimination he still continues to face as an openly gay man.
Several legislators also testified in support of this bill, including Lead Sponsor Rep. Sarah Peake, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Senator Joan Lovely and Rep. Liz Malia.
Passage of this bill would send a strong message to LGBT elders and caregivers that the Commonwealth has not forgotten them and that they are valued members of our society. A commission on LGBT Aging would also help to create a more inclusive and welcoming state that will encourage older, more closeted LGBT adults to come out and seek necessary support and services.