Friday, May 20, 2016

As We Get Older

Concerns about long term care facilities become important to us; will they respect my gender diversity? Will the residents shun me? These are the questions that we think about as we get older.
Nursing facility doors slam shut for transgender Iowan
Nursing homes and rehab centers' failure to accept transgender people a national problem
The Des Moines Register
By Lee Rood
May 19, 2016

Iowa’s Civil Rights Act expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. Still, Edwards’ caregivers have been unable to find a place for her to live.

Brian Carter, a retired United Methodist pastor and a longtime friend of Edwards and her family, contacted the Reader’s Watchdog about her dilemma:

Last August, Edwards had a stroke. She went to a rehabilitation facility in Clarinda, Iowa, and arrived at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines in March with bad wounds on her legs.

She was scheduled to be discharged Tuesday. But a hospital social worker said hospital staff checked with roughly 90 nursing homes and rehab facilities and none — except one that was 2 1/2 hours away in Muscatine — would take her.
Carter said a hospital social worker told him Monday one of the reasons they can’t find a nursing or rehabilitation facility near Des Moines is that Edwards is transgender. He said the social worker told him that facilities are accepting new residents say men don’t want to room with a person who is biologically male but identifies as a woman. Neither do their female residents.
It is not limited to Iowa but it is a nationwide problem. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have protections for trans people in public accommodations and housing.
If this seems like an isolated incident, here’s something to chew on: Edwards’ plight is a growing one. The transgender population in the United States is growing substantially right along with the baby boomer population.

While estimates vary widely as to how many Americans are transgender, people 65 or older in the U.S. will reach 19 percent of the population by 2030.

“The problem is huge,” said Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the statewide advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. “I can’t tell you how many people get turned away. And in the state of Iowa, you can’t discriminate against transgender people like this.”
Here in Connecticut we have gender inclusive non-discrimination law but how will long term care centers and nursing homes handle trans residents is really an unknown factor. We are doing training but will it be put into practice? Or will it take a lawsuit to get them see the light.

How will the residents treat trans residents is also an unknown, will they shun us? I imagine that it will probably be like society in that it will be mixed, some will and some won’t.

Today I am at the Moveable Senior Center in Newington, it is program where senior center host a LGBT day at their centers. The centers like the idea of having a program for LGBT seniors and it has spread to other centers from the original five.

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