Legislation disrupting disparities for LGBTQ+ older adults passes the Senate 37-09

March 4, 2022

By Indigo Quashie

SPRINGFIELD — Last week on Wednesday, Februrary 23rd, HB4656/SB3490: Disrupting Disparities for LGBTQ+ Older Adults and Older Adults Living with HIV was passed through the Illinois State Senate with a bipartisan vote of 37-09! While SB3490’s advancement is far from over, as it still needs to be voted on by the House, news like this reminds us that the work we put in along with our community’s advocacy makes it all worthwhile.

As a reminder, The Older Adults Bill calls for three reforms:

  1. Create a three-year Commission on LGBTQ+ Aging (This would make Illinois the 2nd state to have a similar commission).
  2. Establish an LGBTQ+ Older Adult Advocate at the Illinois Department on Aging.
  3. Require providers who are funded by or contract with the Illinois Department on Aging to complete cultural competency training.

Enacting these reforms would be pivotal in the fight against HIV in Illinois because it uplifts a demographic that is often left out of the conversation. Whether it is about people living with HIV, or members of the LGBTQ+ community, older adults are not the first to come to mind, leaving their barriers to only be chipped at. This leads to problems accessing high-quality health care, securing culturally competent housing and caregiving support, and navigating increased risk of serious illness and disability including HIV. AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) is partnering with Pride Action Tank (PAT), Equality Illinois, AARP Illinois and other organizations to develop this policy. Aging is one of PAT’s six focus areas.

SB3490’s Senate passage gives us reassurance in the effectiveness of community action, extending our stride toward getting to zero by 2030. On March 9th, AFC is partnering with Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) to host this year’s Illinois’ HIV Advocacy Day! We invite you to attend this full day of communication, collaboration, and action through contacting your officials about legislation like SB3490. Use your voice and your stories as a tool to help get these bills passed, and to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois. Register today by either texting ‘GTZIL’ to 40649 or clicking here.

Categorized under Public Statements.

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