California LGBT bill applies to assisted living, skilled nursing

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A bill under consideration in California is designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from discrimination in assisted living communities and nursing homes, according to its author, state Sen. Scott Wiener.

S.B. 219 would require facilities to refer to residents by their preferred name or pronoun and would prohibit facilities from denying admission, involuntarily discharging, evicting or transferring a resident within a facility or to another facility based on anti-LGBT attitudes of other residents or a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status. Facilities also would be required to post a notice regarding LGBT discrimination where the current non-discrimination policy is posted.

“Our LGBT seniors paved the way for all of us living today, fighting for our civil rights and against the AIDS epidemic that decimated our community,” Wiener said. “Ensuring these seniors can age with dignity and respect is the least we can do to support them, especially as they face discrimination, unique health challenges and often lack family support.”

The legislation, also called the LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Resident's Bill of Rights, was passed by the state Senate Human Services Committee on March 28. Its next hearing is April 18.

Equality California is sponsoring the legislation, which also is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, Justice in Aging, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center, Alzheimer's Orange County and other organizations, according to Wiener.

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