Hochul signs legislation aimed at protecting LGBTQ seniors

A day before World AIDS Day, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill banning long-term care facilities and their staff from discriminating against residents based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV. status.

“New York's seniors should be able to live their lives with the dignity and respect they deserve, free from discrimination of any kind,” Hochul said. “LGBTQIA+ and HIV-positive seniors are among our most vulnerable populations, and today we are taking steps to ensure that all New Yorkers – no matter who they are, who they love or their HIV status – find safety and support in places where they need it the most. Hate will never have a place in New York.”

The governor said the legislation combats discrimination by reducing the isolation that many older LGBTQIA+ people living with HIV in New York sometimes face. The legislation is said to build on existing protections against discrimination already enshrined in New York's Human Rights Act.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, emphasized the importance of signing the bill before World AIDS Day.

“There is a veritable 'silver tsunami' of complex issues as LGBTQ+ people living with HIV live longer, meaning long-term care facilities with LGBTQ+ residents must adapt to this welcome reality,” he said. “It is therefore fitting that Governor Hochul has chosen the eve of World AIDS Day to sign into law our LGBTQ+ Long-term Care Facility Residents' Bill of Rights, which will ensure that older LGBTQ+ New Yorkers will be protected from discrimination in these facilities . .”

Darcy Connors, executive director of SAGEServes, SAGE's direct services division, said the legislation provides protections against the denial of admission to a long-term facility, transfer within a facility or to another facility, or the discharge or expulsion of a resident from a facility . is crucial.

New York State's LGBTQ+ and HIV Long Term Care Bill of Rights will help combat the stigma that unfairly impacts New Yorkers living with HIV and empower LGBTQ+ elders to be open about their identities without fear of discrimination in long-term care,” Connors said. . “LGBTQ+ older adults and people living with HIV have waited far too long for these safeguards that allow them to age with the dignity and respect they deserve. Thank you Assemblymember Bronson and Senator Hoylman-Sigal for championing this groundbreaking legislation through the state legislature, and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the bill in honor of World AIDS Day.”

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