Out on the Trail, Feb. 24, 2016: Task Force Formed To Look After LGBT Aging Issues

Look out, Capitol Hill, the LGBT community’s “Golden Girls” have their own task force.

And so it was announced last week that members of the 114th United States Congress had come together to form a coalition with the expressed intent to advance the dignity and security of older Americans who identify as LGBT.

“The struggle for equality doesn’t stop at retirement,” said Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL), in a news release announcing the formation of the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force. “LGBT seniors face unique and misunderstood challenges. I look forward to better serving the large elder and LGBT populations in South Florida.”

Joining Frankel on the task force are Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-MN), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-AZ).

The task force is chaired by Rep. Ted Deutch, of Boca Raton, who spoke recently to a packed room at the Pride Center’s Coffee and Conversation program. In October of 2015, Deutch introduced the Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act, a bill named after a West Palm Beach lesbian couple.

“While we’ve made such incredible advances in just the last year, we still find when it comes to Social Security, benefits are paid and they now respect marriage equality, however, the formula they use doesn’t account for all the time that couples were together because they weren’t allowed to be married,” Deutch said. “So, I introduced this legislation to try to change the situation.”

According to Deutch’s Washington, D.C. office, the bill is still seeking sponsors and has yet to receive a committee hearing.


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