I recently had what was sort of a clandestine meeting in New York across from City Hall with a group of individuals from the LGBT community who realize the need for an LGBT-friendly senior living facility similar to the one we are building in Philadelphia.
As president of dmhFund, I have had previous invites from other cities to assist with their plans. We’ve been judicious in choosing which ones we’d spend our limited time on. This group seems to have the background and the fire in their belly to actually get it done. All they need is the direction and guidance, and maybe a kick in the ass along the way.
Listen up, LGBT America, here are the simple facts. Your city is not on the map of being an LGBT-friendly city until your community can state that it is taking care of the needs of its own community. Those needs should include social organizations likes sports leagues, musical organizations, religious institutions, community centers, political organizations and, more importantly, LGBT medical clinics, legal advisors, peer counseling, organizations focusing on trans health and safety, endangered youth, help for LGBT homeless and the last pioneering issue — senior social services and living. Of all the issues, list which one you think has the least demographic studies? Seniors. We literally toss them aside. We are an ageist community.
Of the studies of LGBT seniors done thus far, the number-one item of need is housing. To that effect, Los Angeles has one senior residence, Philly’s opens this coming January and only two others have it in sight. Even San Francisco, often seen as the gay mecca, won’t break ground until at least 2015. You often hear that we have no time to wait to assist our endangered gay youth. That line is even truer for our seniors. We don’t have the time: They literally are dying.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at [email protected].