Councilmember Evan Glass introduced the “LGBTQ Bill of Rights,” which would broaden and strengthen Montgomery County’s legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents. The legislation would expand Montgomery County’s anti-discrimination law to include gender expression, HIV status and also explicitly ban LGBTQ+ discrimination in healthcare facilities, nursing homes and personal care facilities.
“During Pride Month, I had the opportunity to speak with residents who continue to face discrimination, despite existing protections and those recently afforded by the Supreme Court,” Coucilmember Evan Glass said. “We know bigotry and hate still exists, particularly in areas of our healthcare system, and this legislation will ensure that LGBTQ+ seniors can age with dignity and respect.”
The LGBTQ Bill of Rights is cosponsored by all members of the Council and once enacted will be the first such law in Maryland and the region.
Montgomery County’s senior population is projected to constitute 21 percent of county residents by 2040, and with half of all people living with HIV being over the age of 50, the need for protecting access to healthcare is particularly acute for LGBTQ+ seniors.
“Access to safe long-term care is of dire concern for the LGBTQ community,” said Nancy Carr, Associate State Director for Communications at AARP Maryland. “A 2018 AARP study found that many LGBTQ seniors are vulnerable and isolated because they are less likely to have adult children to look out for them. They are also more likely to have lost a significant part of their social network during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Discrimination at the hands of providers, threatens the very health, financial security, and personal fulfillment of too many 50-plus LGBTQ adults. We are glad to see Montgomery County take the lead on this issue and we hope it propels further action at the state level.”