State law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in nearly every aspect of life, including employment, housing and public accomodations (access to services). California has also enacted specific legislation impacting LGBT seniors. For more information on legislation impacting LGBT Californians, please visit the websites of Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights
LGBT Training for Health Professionals in Senior Care Facilities
In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1729, authored by Senator Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, which requires all registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and physicians in skilled nursing facilities or group living health facilities to receive training approved by the Department of Public Health that focuses on preventing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2009. The California Department of Public Health is in the process of drafting the regulations necessary to implement the law.
The intent of the law is to educate providers about nondiscrimination laws and policies, how to avoid heterosexual assumptions, and how to create a culture of respect for gender and sexual orientation diversity, have already proven effective in transforming institutions to be more inclusive of and welcoming to LGBT seniors.
Older Californians Equality and Protection Act
The Older Californians Equality and Protection Act amends the Welfare and Institutions Code to require the California Department of Aging and Area Agencies on Aging to ensure that programs and services for seniors account for the needs of aging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.
Existing law establishes the California Department of Aging and specifies the programs and services to be administered by the Department. Existing law also requires the Area Agencies on Aging to conduct needs assessments and develop local area plans accordingly. The Older Californians Equality and Protection Act requires the California Department of Aging to:
- Include the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors in their needs assessments and area plans
- Provide technical assistance to local agencies for the training of staff, contractors and volunteers regarding the unique needs of LGBT seniors, and
- Ensure that programs and services provided through the Older Americans Act and Older Californians Act in each planning and service area are available to all older adults regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis set forth in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, California’s most comprehensive nondiscrimination law.