MassEquality Statement on the Passage of the Bill Requiring LGBT Awareness Training for Providers of Aging Services

Jul 26, 2018

Contact: Deborah Shields, JD, MPH
Executive Director
617-878-2300 (o)
Twitter: @massequality



BOSTON – July 26, 2018 – Today, Governor Baker signed the Massachusetts state budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget includes several items impacting the LGBT community, including An Act Relative to LGBT Awareness Training for Aging Services Providers. This law will require the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) to develop a training program for providers of elder services on preventing discrimination against older adults based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and improving access to services for LGBT elders. Massachusetts is now the first state in the U.S. to require all state-funded or -licensed aging services providers to complete LGBT awareness training and ensure that LGBT seniors can access services without fear of discrimination. In response, MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH, released the following statement:

“MassEquality thanks Governor Baker for approving this law. We also applaud the Massachusetts Legislature for passing this bill, which will have a huge, positive impact on the lives of LGBT older adults here in Massachusetts. LGBT people face a variety of additional challenges as they age compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Being more likely to age alone without partner or family support, LGBT elders tend to rely more on various support services. This makes them especially vulnerable to the impacts of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, leading some to go back into the closet when they seek care and services. This law is designed to prevent our aging community members from facing such discrimination and other barriers to accessing necessary services.

“We also want to thank Senator Pat Jehlen and Representative Liz Malia, the lead sponsors of this legislation, for their support and leadership, as well as Sen. Barbara L’Italien, who has been a strong champion of this bill. We also thank our colleagues on the Massachusetts LGBT Aging Commission for their tireless advocacy on behalf of LGBT older adults in the Commonwealth, and our many supporters who reached out to their legislators in support of this bill. Thanks to the efforts of these advocates, LGBT elders in Massachusetts will be able to confidently access the care they need without fear of discrimination based on who they are.”

MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.