California has often been at the forefront of the country in providing legal protections for marginalized classes, including elderly residents of the state as well as those who identify as LGBT. In late 2017, Governor Brown signed into law a bill that provides increased legal protections for Californians who are part of both of those classes, giving LGBT nursing home and assisted living residents legal rights specific to many of the difficulties they encounter. Because elderly LGBT residents can often lack the familial resources that others have, this is an important step forward for the rights of the elderly in California.
The LGBT Senior Bill of Rights
SB 2019, passed in October 2017, creates a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights” for Californians who live in assisted living centers and nursing homes. The bill makes it unlawful for nursing homes and assisted living centers “to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.”
Among the protections that the bill provides LGBT seniors and those living with HIV are:
- The right to be addressed by their preferred name and/or pronoun (e.g. him, her, he she) after making their wishes known to staff
- The right to avoid being denied admission to a long-term care facility based on their real or perceived LGBT and/or HIV status
- The right to avoid being transferred – as well as the right to obtain a transfer – based on their real or perceived LGBT and/or HIV status
- The right to avoid eviction or discharge from a facility based on their real or perceived LGBT and/or HIV status
- The right to receive medical treatment that respects residents’ privacy with concerns to LGBT matters
A Victory for California Seniors
The California legislature passed the new legislation based on earlier findings that “many LGBT seniors are members of multiple underrepresented groups, and as a result, are doubly marginalized,” putting them at high risk for homelessness, poverty, isolation, and premature institutionalization.
The legislature also found that many LGBT seniors avoid accessing elder care services and programs due to discrimination, and that many “LGBT seniors experience discrimination, including in long-term care facilities where residents are particularly vulnerable because they must rely on others for necessary care and services.”
With this new legislation, therefore, the State of California is taking a great step for all seniors to fight against discrimination and improper care in long-term facilities and provide better access to elder services for all. The sponsor of the bill, California Sen. Scott Weiner, said, “The LGBT Senior Bill of Rights is an important step in our fight to ensure all people are treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Contact the Southern California Elder Abuse Attorneys at Johnson Moore Today
At Johnson Moore, we know full well that elder abuse victims and their families often face stonewalling, denial, and even intimidation when they try to take action against elder abuse. Our attorneys are compassionate and determined defenders of the elderly, and we will take the time to fully understand your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. Even if you are unsure of whether you have a valid claim, we look forward to hearing from you to help you explore your options for obtaining the justice you deserve. Contact Johnson Moore today to schedule a free consultation.