Recent Comments


    LGBTQIA+ Older Adults in California

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    We are at a critical moment that will impact the health and well-being of our community for generations to come. The California Department of Aging, in partnership with a coalition of LGBTQ+ community organizations and researchers, has launched the first statewide survey on LGBTQ+ midlife and older adults. This survey will help us understand the unique needs and challenges of our communities as we age.

    Until now, the lack of robust data on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a major obstacle to the health and well-being of our community. Simply put:

    • If we don’t know that a need exists, we can’t address it.
    • If we don’t know how needs vary in different communities, we cannot develop culturally appropriate services to meet those needs.
    • If we don’t have data, then service providers cannot access the resources they need to deliver those programs. 

    For decades, countless community advocates and allies have spotlighted this issue. Over the years, we made progress! We passed laws that mandate the collection of data at both the state (thank you, former Assemblymember Chiu) and local level (thank you, former Supervisor Wiener). But the state and local departments have been excruciatingly slow to take action.

    Finally, in 2019, California initiated a new Master Plan for Aging (MPA) to address the needs of the fastest growing and most diverse segment of California’s population: older adults. (It’s staggering to realize that by 2030, one quarter of the state’s population will be 60 years of age and older.)

    Towards that goal, in 2020, an Equity Work Group was created to ensure that equity was an integral part of the MPA. As a Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging, I was invited to join that group. It was gratifying to elevate the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection and to voice my concern that, without robust SOGI data, older LGBTQ+ Californians would not be able to benefit from the MPA. At every turn, my colleagues shared my concern about this problem, and my commitment to find a solution. This survey is the solution that we were all looking for.

    I have invited several of the key people working on the survey to share their thoughts about the survey with San Francisco Bay Times readers. In this issue, David Lindeman, the Executive Director of CITRIS Health at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), UC Berkeley, provides an introduction to the survey. In a second article, co-authors Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, Openhouse Executive Director, and Jupiter Peraza, Openhouse Manager of the Survey Collaborative, describe the community-based research approach used to design the survey. 

    If you are an LGBTQ+ resident of California and 50 years old or older, you can be a part of this history making moment by taking the survey. Together, we can help ourselves and our communities have access to the care and support we need to thrive and grow as we age. 

    Here is a link to the survey:

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, a psychologist and LGBTQ+ longevity advocate and policy adviser, oversees the Aging in Community column. She serves on the California Commission on Aging, the California Behavioral Health Task Force, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and San Francisco Advisory Committees. She also serves as a Senior Advisor to the LGBTQIA+ Older Adults in California survey and is the Co-Founder of Openhouse, the only San Francisco nonprofit exclusively focused on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ older adults.

    Aging in Community
    Published on January 11, 2024