LGBTQIA+ Older Adults

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The LGBTQIA+ Aging Community

​The Maryland Department of Aging is committed to working to improve the quality of services and supports offered to LGBTQIA+ older adults, their families, and caregivers. ​

More than 250,000 residents, or 4.2 percent of Marylanders identify as LGBTQIA+, each of whom makes  meaningful contributions to our communities, economy, culture, arts, and history. According to UCLA's Williams Institute, 7 percent of LGBTQIA+ adults in Maryland are aged 65 or older. While the older LGBTQIA+ population has been largely invisible until very recently, positive strides have been made to improve the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community, and many older adults have felt comfortable enough to "come out of the closet."

Despite advances, LGBTQIA+ older adults often face an array of unique barriers and inequalities that can stand in the way of a healthy and rewarding later life.​​​​​ Unfortunately, LGBTQIA+ older adults are twice as likely to be single and three to four times more likely to be without children than their heterosexual counterparts. This makes living alone more likely, which can then lead to financial struggles, an elevated risk of isolation, hostile living environments, or even homelessness. 

Moore/Miller Administration Supports ​LGBTQIA+ Community

The Maryland Department of Aging supports the LGBTQIA+ community, including LBGTQIA+ older adults, and aligns with the Moore-Miller Administration which has defended LGBTQIA+ civil rights and approved legislation protecting those rights. 

Since becoming Governor, Wes Moore has stated his intent to protect and celebrate the contributions, resilience, courage, and joy of LGBTQIA+ Marylanders, while also recognizing the progress made towards full equality and equity for the LGBTQIA+ community and work that still needs to be done. 

"In Maryland, we lead with love and inclusion. I want everyone in our LGBTQIA+ community to know that they deserve to be seen for who they are, and our administration will stand with them in the fight for equality and equity,” Gov. Moore said.

On March 31, 2023, Governor Moore became the first governor in the state's history to proclaim International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland​. In addition, Gov. Moore has signed the Trans Health Equity Act​ into law, which requires Maryland Medicaid to provide additional coverage for gender-affirming care beginning January 1, 2024.​

What Does LGBTQIA+ Mean?

Where a variety of orientations and identities had previously been referred to as "the gay community" and later "the gay and lesbian community," the acronym LGBTQIA+ eventually evolved as a way to be more inclusive of other identities. The acronym is used to represent a diverse range of sexualities and gender-identities, and stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), intersex, asexual, and other. See below for a description of each letter:

  • L (Lesbian): A lesbian is a woman/woman-aligned person who is attracted to only people of the same/similar gender.
  • G (Gay): Gay is usually a term used to refer to men/men-aligned individuals who are only attracted to people of the same/similar gender. However, lesbians can also be referred to as gay. The use of the term gay became more popular during the 1970s. Today, bisexual and pansexual people sometimes use gay to casually refer to themselves when they talk about their similar gender attraction.
  • B (Bisexual): Bisexual indicates an attraction to all genders. The recognition of bisexual individuals is important, since there have been periods when people who identify as bi have been misunderstood as being gay. Bisexuality has included transgender, binary and nonbinary individuals since the release of the "Bisexual Manifesto" in 1990.
  • T (Transgender): Transgender is a term that indicates that a person's gender identity is different from the gender associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. 
  • Q (Queer or Questioning): Though queer may be used by people as a specific identity, it is often considered an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or heterosexual. But it is also a slur. It should not be placed on all members of the community, and should only be used by cisgender and heterosexual individuals when referring to a person who explicitly identifies with it. Questioning refers to people who may be unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • I (Intersex): A term to describe individuals who are born with variations of sex characteristics that do not fit with binary definitions of male or female bodies.
  • A (Asexual): Sometimes shorted to "ace," this term refers to someone who has little or no sexual attraction; they may, however, experience romantic attraction.
  • + (Plus): The 'plus' is used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other five initials. An example is Two-Spirit, a pan-Indigenous American identity.​

Webinar on Supporting LGBTQ+ Inclusive Aging Networks

June 18, 2024  l  2:00pm ET

Is your organization interested providing LGBTQ+ inclusive aging services? Join our Celebrate Pride Office Hours as SAGE's National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging and AgeOptions, Thrive with Pride program, lead a discussion on LGBTQ+ inclusive programs and outreach. 

Who should attend? Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Centers for Independent Living, Ombudsman Programs, SMP/SHIP/MIPAA Programs, Older Adult Community Centers.

Click Here to Register​​​

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