Breaking News

Local lesbian murder-suicide shakes community 

Local lesbian murder-suicide shakes community 

Victoria Brownworth    December 18, 2019

On the afternoon of Dec. 16, two women, married to one another, were found dead by two of their three children — ages 12 and 6 — in the kitchen...

Mark My Words

Zola Tails

Mark Segal    January 23, 2020

  Zola is pure joy. That's the answer I give every time someone asks, "How's your puppy, by the way?" All dogs, in my eyes, will always be puppies. Zola is...

Latest News

International News - 1/24/20

International

International News - 1/24/20

PGN Staff    January 23, 2020

South Korea to decide fate of first transgender soldier In the first such case in South Korea, military officials will determine whether to discharge a soldier who recently underwent gender-affirmation surgery...

Out gay man running for Del. House of Representatives 

Regional

Out gay man running for Del. House of Representatives 

Michele Zipkin    January 23, 2020

  Eric Morrison, an openly gay candidate for Delaware State Representative, was endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund earlier this month. He is running to represent the 27th district, which covers...

Philly school district settles bullying case

Local

Philly school district settles bullying case

Tim Cwiek    January 23, 2020

  Philadelphia school-district officials have settled the lawsuit filed by Amanda  Wible, a former public school student who maintains she suffered severe bullying because she’s gender nonconforming.

Assailant of trans woman seeks new trial

Local

Assailant of trans woman seeks new trial

Tim Cwiek    January 23, 2020

Marcus Jones, who brutally assaulted trans woman Michelle Hill in August 2015, has filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, seeking a new trial.

Assailant of trans woman seeks new trial

Local

Assailant of trans woman seeks new trial

Tim Cwiek    January 23, 2020

Marcus Jones, who brutally assaulted trans woman Michelle Hill in August 2015, has filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, seeking a new trial.

Gene London, children’s TV show host and out gay advocate, has died

Local

Gene London, children’s TV show host and out gay advocate, has died

Jess Bryant    January 23, 2020

 Out gay man Gene London, the celebrated host of “Cartoon Corners” aka “The Gene London Show” from 1959-77 died Sunday, Jan. 19 in Reading at age 88. His family reported...

Accurately reporting Philadelphia’s homeless youth requires community effort

Local

Accurately reporting Philadelphia’s homeless youth requires community effort

Michele Zipkin    January 23, 2020

  Valley Youth House organized the annual Philadelphia Youth Count in conjunction with the Office of Homeless Services. On Thursday, Jan. 23, Valley Youth House volunteers worked on the street to...

Philadelphia’s Resident Survey shows LGBTQ dissatisfaction with police, healthcare 

Local

Philadelphia’s Resident Survey shows LGBTQ dissatisfaction with police, healthcare 

Michele Zipkin    January 23, 2020

    The 2019-20 Philadelphia Resident Survey details responses to city services such as public safety, healthcare, community programs and education, among other services that impact quality of life. It also breaks...

Pennsylvania poised to carry on momentum in LGBTQ aging

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google Plus

This past October, the LGBT Elder Initiative came together with state officials, healthcare professionals, aging services providers and LGBTQ older Pennsylvanians at the 2018 LGBTQ Aging Summit. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the summit sought to address many of the issues facing LGBTQ elder communities and to share best practices for professionals working with LGBTQ populations. Summit content identified policy priorities related to LGBTQ aging and developed recommendations to improve the lives of LGBTQ older Pennsylvanians.

It was the first-ever statewide event in Pennsylvania dedicated to LGBTQ aging issues, and one of the first statewide LGBTQ aging events in the country. Numerous partners from across the state — including LGBTQ-serving non-profits, aging services providers and state agencies — joined together for the planning of the summit. With more than 300 people in attendance, it was inspiring to see the passion of individuals from across the Commonwealth dedicated to making LGBTQ aging issues a statewide priority.

A few months prior, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the formation of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, signing an executive order that made Pennsylvania the only state in the country to have a standing commission dedicated to LGBTQ issues. The role of the commission is to help coordinate efforts taking place across Pennsylvania for greater equality for LGBTQ people. Included among the 40 Commissioners appointed by the governor are several LGBTQ older adults and aging advocates.  
Between the summit and the seating of this commission, there is great momentum for addressing the issues that impact LGBTQ older adults. There is also now an infrastructure in place to be better able to do so.

At its first meeting, the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs authorized the creation of an LGBTQ Aging Workgroup. The workgroup is being chaired by Commissioner Joanne Carroll and Heshie Zinman with support from the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, Todd Snovel.   
The Aging Workgroup will be able to augment the work being done by the commission and be a voice specifically for LGBTQ older Pennsylvanians. Additionally, the workgroup will be able to provide recommendations to state agencies that are responsible for administering services to older adults, such as the Department of Aging, Department of Health and Department of Human Services.

Some of the issues that affect LGBTQ elders will require the passage of legislation. The Pennsylvania Fairness Act, for example, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the state’s nondiscrimination law, would need to be passed by the Pennsylvania House and Senate before it can be signed into law.
However, other issues can be addressed through changes to policies and procedures within state agencies. For example, a priority of the workgroup is to improve the ways that data on sexual orientation and gender identity is collected. Currently, most state agencies do not track data on sexual orientation and treat gender as a male/female binary. Beginning to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identities beyond the male/female binary would allow agencies to better understand the needs of LGBTQ people and how they are — or aren’t —receiving services.

Additional efforts can take place through influencing state agencies’ strategic priorities for community outreach, training, funding and service delivery. Every four years, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging prepares its State Plan on Aging, which acts as a blueprint for serving the Commonwealth’s older adult population, identifying priorities for enhancing programs, delivering services and allocating resources.

This year, the Department of Aging will begin crafting its State Plan for 2020-2024. The Aging Workgroup — along with organizations and advocates across Pennsylvania — will need to make our voices heard to keep LGBTQ aging issues on the forefront. Ensuring that the new State Plan sufficiently addresses the needs of our LGBTQ older adults will be an essential step in carrying on the great momentum that has been building over the past year.


Find us on Facebook
Follow Us
Find Us on YouTube
Find Us on Instagram
Sign Up for Our Newsletter