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Hochul signs legislation to protect rights of seniors with HIV, members of LGBTQIA+ community

Thu, Nov 30th 2023 07:55 pm

Legislation establishes long-term care facility residents’ bill of rights for LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers and people living with HIV

Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation S.1783A/A.372A, which establishes a bill of rights for long-term care facility residents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or living with HIV. The bill prohibits long-term care facilities and their staff from discriminating against any resident on the basis of a resident’s 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 every 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 – regardless of 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.”

Hochul’s team said, “Legislation S.1783A/A.372A combats discrimination and mitigates the isolation that many elder LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers and those living with HIV face in long-term care facilities. This legislation builds on existing protections from discrimination already established in New York’s Human Rights Law by prohibiting long-term care facilities and their staff from making discriminatory decisions based on a resident’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or HIV status.” That includes:

√ Denying admission to a long-term facility

√ Transferring or denying a transfer within a facility or to another facility

√ Discharging or evicting a resident from a facility

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “There is a veritable ‘silver tsunami’ of complex issues as LGBTQ+ people with HIV are living longer, meaning that long-term care facilities with LGBTQ+ residents need to adjust to this welcome reality. It’s appropriate, then, that Gov. Hochul chose the eve of World AIDS Day to sign our LGBTQ+ long-term care facility residents' bill of rights into law, which will help ensure that older LGBTQ+ New Yorkers in these facilities will be protected from discrimination.”

Assembly member Harry Bronson said, “Thank you, Governor Hochul for recognizing that members of the LGBTQ+ community should not be denied admission to a long-term care facility, be denied transfer options, or be discharged or evicted based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. Instead, they should be treated with the humanity, dignity, and respect they deserve. The LGBTQ+ and HIV Long-Term Care Bill of Rights Act will help to prevent discrimination by long-term care facilities. This new law will help our LGBTQ+ older adults be their authentic self without fear of discrimination while they age.

SAGEServes Executive Director Darcy Connors said, "The New York state LGBTQ+ and HIV long-term care bill of rights will help combat the stigma that unjustly impacts New Yorkers living with HIV, and empower LGBTQ+ elders to be open about their identities without fear of discrimination in long-term care settings. LGBTQ+ elders and those living with HIV have waited far too long for these safeguards that enable them to age with the dignity and respect they deserve. Thank you Assembly member Bronson and Sen. Hoylman-Sigal for championing this landmark legislation through the State Legislature, and Gov. Kathy Hochul for signing it into law in recognition of World AIDS Day."

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