On July 6, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has released a new publication to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders and their families and caregivers navigate legal issues. â€śPlanning with Purpose: Legal Basics for LGBT Eldersâ€ť provides basic information about select areas of the law that are important to LGBT elders, especially individuals and couples who are age 55 and over, based on NCLRâ€™s experience advocating for LGBT elders. This guide includes information about issues related to relationship recognition, finances, healthcare, long-term care, planning for the care of minor or disabled children, inheritance, elder abuse, and discrimination against LGBT elders. It covers many of those areas where rights, benefits, and protections are generally provided to heterosexual people based on spousal status, but are denied to same-sex couples, even if married or in other legal unions. It also highlights issues unique to transgender elders.
â€śLGBT people have made progress on our civil rights, but there is still a lot to consider if you are an older LGBT person in the U.S.,â€ť says NCLR Elder Law Project Consultant Joyce Pierson. â€śWhile it may not be easy to think about your life from a legal perspective, it is extremely important that you learn about and use all of the legal protections available to you.â€ť Pierson stresses, â€śPlanning is the key.â€ť
Since 1999, NCLRâ€™s Elder Law Project has been empowering LGBT seniors to protect themselves, and has been advocating for equal treatment of LGBT seniors in law, public policy, healthcare and senior health, and social services. NCLR is committed to bringing LGBT people into the aging services network nationwide and to bringing elders into the center of the larger LGBT movement for justice and equality.
For this publication, NCLR worked closely with SAGE: Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders. SAGE is the worldâ€™s oldest and largest nonprofit agency addressing the needs of LGBT older adults, and is an invaluable ally in this work.
â€śInformation is power, and this new publication from NCLR will give LGBT older adults across the country vital information that they can use to advocate for themselves and vindicate their legal rights,â€ť says SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams. â€śEmpowering LGBT older adults with information is a central tenet of SAGEâ€™s mission; so weâ€™re proud to be part of this project and extremely pleased with our growing partnership with NCLR.â€ť
â€śWe are excited about the release of this publication, which will provide LGBT elders with information they need to protect themselves and their families,â€ť says NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. â€śDealing with a discriminatory legal system can be daunting, and this publication is designed to help LGBT elders take charge of their own fates.â€ť