The Trump administration has restored sexual orientation to the National Survey of Older Americans Act. But gender identity is still missing and SAGE [Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders] is demanding transgender individuals be put back in.
“Message to Trump: We will not rest until our entire community is counted, LGB and T! http://sageusa.org/TransEldersCount … #LGBT #WeRefuseToBeInvisible,” tweeted SAGE on June 23.
The survey is used by the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] to determine how it will allocate federal funding to organizations that work with seniors.
Earlier this year, SAGE objected to the removal of LGBT individuals from the survey, which they’ve been a part of every year since 2014. “Trump to LGBT Elders: Drop Dead” was how SAGE phrased their objection. With sexual orientation added back in, SAGE declared a partial victory and retooled its old message: “Trump to Trans Elders: Drop Dead.” SAGE encouraged LGBT individuals and their allies to write letters to the Administration for Community Living [ACL], part of HHS, and ask that the survey be restored to the way it was under the Obama administration.
And just as it did with its first attempt to get all LGBT seniors added back onto the survey, SAGE in encouraging people to write letters to HHS.
“Thousands of LGBT elders and their allies forced the Trump administration to reverse course on their discriminatory plans,” stated Michael Adams, SAGE CEO, in a press release. “But if the administration thinks that with this partial victory SAGE will now abandon trans elders, it's in for a big surprise . . . We must not back down. The Trump administration wants to pretend that transgender elders do not exist, but we won’t let them.” To write a letter, visit ActionNetwork.org/letters/trump-wants-trans-elders-to-just-disappear.
According to the ACL, the first public comment earlier this year resulted in 89 organizations and over 13,900 individuals commenting about adding LGBT seniors back into the survey.
“ACL has made minor changes to the survey based on some suggested changes, including retaining the primary question regarding sexual orientation,” reads part of a document provided online by the Federal Register, the official daily journal of the federal government.
If transgender individuals aren’t surveyed, federal money can’t be allocated to them.
“It’s not just technical data. It determines how billions of dollars in elder services are distributed every year. Eliminating [LGBT seniors] is just outrageous,” Adams told SFGN in May. “If they’re not asking questions [about LGBT seniors], then they’re not going to be able to address their needs. Clearly, the trump administration does not care about their needs.”