I recently had something of a clandestine meeting in New York, across from City Hall, with a group of individuals from the LGBT community who realize the need for an LGBT-friendly senior living facility similar to the one we are building in Philadelphia.
As president of dmhFund, I have had previous invites from other cities to assist with their plans. We've been judicious in choosing which ones we'd spend our limited time on, but this group seems to have the background and the fire in their belly to actually get it done. All they need is the direction and guidance, and maybe a kick in the ass along the way.
Listen up, LGBT America, here are the simple facts. Your city is not on the map of being an LGBT-friendly city until your community can state that it is taking care of the needs of its own LGBT citizens. Those needs include social organizations likes sports leagues, musical groups, religious institutions, community centers, political organizations and -- more importantly -- LGBT medical clinics, legal advisors, peer counseling, organizations focusing on trans health and safety, endangered youth, help for LGBT homeless, and the last pioneering issue: senior social services and living.
Out of all those issues, which one you think has the least demographic studies? If you guessed seniors, you're right. The LGBT community is an ageist community -- we literally toss seniors aside.
Of the studies of LGBT seniors done thus far, the number-one item of need is housing. To that effect, Los Angeles has one senior residence, Philly's opens this coming January and only two others have it in sight. Even San Francisco, often seen as the gay mecca, won't break ground on its own LGBT senior residence until at least 2015.
We often hear that we have no time to wait to assist our endangered gay youth. While that is absolutely true, it is even truer for our seniors. We literally don't have the time: they are dying.