Seeking to ensure equal access to quality care for LGBTQI senior citizens in New Jersey, legislation to require certain service providers to undergo discrimination prevention training passed the full Assembly Thursday, by a vote of 73-1-2.
Under the measure (A-1058), the Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Human Services or their designee would develop a training program designed to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in the delivery of services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex seniors.
The training program would also be designed to increase awareness and provide cultural competency to service providers and staff about the issues encountered by seniors identifying as LGTBQI.
Sponsors of the measure, Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey (D-Essex), Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) released the following joint statement:
“By the year 2030, the number of LGBTQI Americans over age 65 is expected to reach three million. This means an unprecedented number of LGBTQI senior citizens may seek elder care from providers who may not be properly trained to work with them. Some may feel they need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity or face harassment from their caregivers. This decision can be painful and may prevent some seniors from seeking the care they need.
“Senior services must be inclusive to meet the needs of all residents. By raising awareness and increasing cultural competency among providers serving LGBTQI seniors, we will create a more comprehensive and respectful system for all.”