New Law Protects LGBT People Living in Senior Facilities in California

Nursing Home Blog

Nursing home abuse is a problem affecting many people. LGBT residents in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable. They are more likely to be abused than other residents. Sadly, 65 percent of LGBT residents suffer abuse from staff or from other residents because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

But there is good news. California recently passed a law that provides a “bill of rights” for senior LGBT people living in the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Under the new law:

  • Facilities must refer to residents using the pronouns and names that residents prefer.
  • Facilities can’t discriminate against LGBT people when making decisions about admissions, discharges, evictions, or transfers. Specifically, facilities can’t discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.
  • Facilities also can’t discriminate on the basis of other residents’ anti-LGBT attitudes.
  • Nursing home staff must receive training in respecting LGBT seniors.
  • Facilities must post a notice of their anti-discrimination policies.

The new law was supported by many civil rights, LGBT rights, and nursing home reform groups, including American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), San Francisco Human Rights Commission and California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Law Addresses Long-Standing Problems

The law, formally known as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, is a solution to several long-standing problems. The California Legislature found that LGBT seniors had a high risk of homelessness, isolation, and poverty. Because LGBT seniors have been marginalized throughout their lives, they tend to avoid using the senior services that they need. The Legislature also found ample evidence of discrimination, mistreatment, abuse, and neglect of LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities.

While California law already prohibited anti-LGBT discrimination in public accommodations, more needed to be done to protect senior residents of long-term care facilities, whose legal rights were not being respected. The new law describes specifically what actions by senior facilities are illegal anti-LGBT discrimination. This should help increase compliance with the law as well as help ensure that senior LGBT residents know about their rights.

Here at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby, we applaud the new law. If you need to talk to an experienced Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer, we are here for you. Call us at (800) 281-8515 to find out more.