Transgender Elders Excluded From National Survey
Since 2014, the agency that conducts the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants included questions for older LGBT people. This year, the Department of Health and Human Services removed questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from the survey. The agency later reversed its decision when it came to sexual orientation only.
Some advocacy groups are worried that a question about gender identity will remain off the survey, meaning transgender elders won’t be counted. The annual survey helps determine funding for programs that assist older adults, like Meals on Wheels.
"The hope would be with this information showing there is a major segment that is not being served, that the organizations that provide these services would develop specific outreach campaigns to provide info to those populations," said Abby Jenson, vice president of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance.
"Without this information, we are simply leaving out a substantial population that needs these services as much or more than other parts of the population," Jenson said.
In fact, according to SAGE, a non-profit advocacy group that represents older LGBT people, LGBT elders are five times less likely to access senior services because of fear.