About Aging with Pride
Together with our partners, BC Care Providers Association and EngAge BC are working with seniors’ living and wellness operators to help improve LGBTQ2+ competency across the sector.
This page includes background information and resources, which can be used by operators, or shared with the people you support.
Why does LGBTQ2+ competency matter?
Although finding accurate statistics can be challenging, it is estimated that anywhere between three and 10 per cent of the population are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two-spirited, or transgender. Many LGBTQ2+ seniors are fearful of entering seniors’ living residences or care homes because they feel that they will have to hide their sexuality or moderate their gender expression.
Letting LGBTQ2+ seniors know your organization is inclusive
It is important to celebrate LGBTQ2+ competency and let potential clients know that they can expect to be supported in a way that feels safe and inclusive.
EngAge BC’s Route 65 free online search service includes a way for operators to indicate that they are LGBTQ2+ inclusive. By activating a pride icon on their listing, operators can let seniors who are searching for seniors’ living options in B.C. know that they, at minimum, have the following in place:
Foundational and on-going training and education on working with older adults who identify as LGBTQ2+. This should include education which is built into the organization’s on-boarding process.
A system in place to review forms, policies and procedures and address any overt or covert discrimination or marginalization (e.g., binary gender options).
Hiring and employment efforts to ensure that the organization’s staff reflect the diversity of the community being served.
A visible statement of support for the LGBTQ2+ community. This can include a mandate, a client rights statement or anti-discrimination policy.
An accessible mechanism for input from LGBTQ2+ clients, including programming, quality of care, etc.
A system in place which allows the organization to proactively address incidents or experiences of discrimination or marginalization should they occur.
Resources for seniors living and wellness operators
Below are resources which might be helpful in building your organization’s competency or supporting clients. Know of a great resource? Let us know!
Prism Prism is Vancouver Coastal Health’s education, information and referral program for the LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer and two spirit) communities, providing workshops and training for service providers, community members, students and service users on inclusion, diversity and promoting health and wellness for the LGBTQ2S communities.
Qmunity QMUNITY is B.C.’s queer resource centre—the hub for the lesbian, gay, trans*, bi and queer community program, training and advocacy. http://qmunity.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/AgingOut.pdf
Rainbow Health Ontario Training and Education Rainbow Health Ontario provides training and education to improve the accessibility and quality of health care services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities in Ontario.
Our City of Colours Increasing the visibility of and addressing issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in a variety of linguistic and cultural communities. firstname.lastname@example.org
SASC Sexual Assault Support Centre Free and confidential support for women, men and trans survivors of sexual assault. 604-827-5180
THiP Transgender Health Information Program. 604-734-1514, email@example.com
Human Rights for Trans People in BC Barbara Findlay Q.C. provides educational material that supports trans people in navigating the process of filing a human rights complaint in B.C. Check out “A booklet in the Out/Law series.”
The Crisis Centre The Crisis Centre provides emotional support to youth, adults and seniors in distress. As a safe place to turn when there seems to be no hope. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 604-872-3311
Rainbow Refugee Canada Rainbow Refugee Committee (RRC) is a Vancouver based community group that supports and advocates with people seeking refugee protection because of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status
Mosaic – I Belong I Belong supports LGBTQIA2+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning) immigrant newcomers by facilitating discussions around sexuality, gender, race, culture, and class.
Island Health – LGBTQ2+ Resources on Vancouver Island The Developing Inclusive and Affirming Care For LGBTQ2+ Seniors toolkit was developed by Nicole Tremblay, Clinical Educator with the Island Health Practice Support Team with input and assistance from the LGBTQ2+ Seniors Advisory Council.
Vancouver Coastal Health – Supporting Sexual Health and Intimacy in Care Facilities Guidelines for Supporting Adults Living in Long-Term Care Facilities and Group Homes in British Columbia, Canada Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Fraser Health Diversity Resources Guides to providing health care services to specific cultural groups, as well as LGBTQ2S+ British Columbians.
Toronto: LGBT Tool Kit, Long Term Care Homes & Services 2017 In 2008, the City of Toronto, Long-Term Care Homes & Services (LTCHS) published the LGBT Tool Kit for Creating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Culturally Competent Care at Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services. In 2017, the Tool Kit was updated and refreshed. To access the toolkit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alberta Health – LGBTQ2S+ Resources for Care Providers Resources to help enhance awareness, confidence, knowledge, and skills to create safer and more welcoming care for sexual and gender diverse clients/ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) clients.
Alberta Health’s Tips to Support LGBTQ2S+ Friendly Activity Programming in Continuing Care
SFU’s Resources of LGBT End of Life Conversations
National Resource Centre on 2SLGBTQI Aging – Acting In Allyship With 2SLGBTQI People Living With Dementia: Guiding Principles of Healthcare and Social Service Professionals
LGBTQ2+: An acronym for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-Spirit, Queer and Questioning” people.
Lesbian: A female-identified person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to female-identified people.
Gay: A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to someone of the same sex and/or gender—gay can include both male-identified individuals and female-identified individuals, or refer to male-identified individuals only.
Bisexual: A person who is attracted emotionally and sexually to both male-identified and female-identified people.
Intersex: An individual having reproductive organs or external sexual characteristics of both male and female.
Transgender: A person who does not identify either fully or in part with the gender associated with their birth-assigned sex—often used as an umbrella term to represent a wide range of gender identities and expressions. Transgender people (just like cisgender people) may identify as straight, gay, etc.
Cisgender: Refers to a person whose biological sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity. (May identify as straight, gay, etc.).
Transsexual: A person whose sex assigned at birth does not correspond with their gender identity. A transsexual woman needs to live and experience life as a woman and a transsexual man needs to live and experience life as a man. Many identify as transgender, rather than transsexual, because they are uncomfortable with the psychiatric connections to the term ‘transsexual’. Some transsexual people may physically alter their body (e.g., sex reassignment surgery and/or hormone therapy) and gender expression to correspond with their gender identity.
Trans: A term commonly used to refer to transgender, transsexual and/or gender variant identities and experiences. While it is often used as an umbrella term, some people identify just as Trans.
Two Spirit (or 2-spirit): Some Aboriginal people choose to identify as Two Spirit rather than, or in addition to, identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer. Prior to European colonization, Two Spirit people were respected members of their communities and were often accorded special status based upon their unique abilities to understand both male and female perspectives. Two Spirit persons were often the visionaries, healers and medicine people in their communities. The term Two Spirit affirms the interrelatedness of all aspects of identity—including gender, sexuality, community, culture and spirituality. It is an English term used to stand in for the many Aboriginal language words for Two Spirit.
Queer: Historically, a derogatory term for homosexuality, used to insult LGBT people. Although still used as a slur by some, the term has been reclaimed by some members of LGBT communities, particularly youth. In its reclaimed form it can be used as a symbol of pride and affirmation of difference and diversity, or as a means of challenging rigid identity categories.
Questioning: A person who is unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Sexual Orientation: A person’s capacity for profound emotional and sexual attraction to another person based on their sex and/or gender.
Gender Identity: A person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender—their internal sense of being a man, woman, or another gender entirely. A person’s gender may or may not correspond with the sex assigned to them at birth. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Chris Morrissey #PrideMonth interview: Creating queer positive care for seniors
BCCPA and EngAge BC have featured web content throughout June to celebrate #PrideMonth and we are wrapping up the end of the month with an exclusive video feature resulting from our ongoing Aging with Pride collaborations with Dignity Seniors Society.
Creating LGBTQ2S+ inclusive and age-friendly communities this Pride Month
Throughout Pride Month, BCCPA and EngAge BC celebrates older adults in the LGBTQ2S+ community and recognizes both the achievements they have made, and the barriers they continue to face. Across the country, many projects and initiatives are looking at the experiences of Queer older adults, and aiming to make positive changes.
Celebrating Pride at your independent living residence in June
June is pride month. Hosting Pride events can be a valuable way to build community in your independent living residence, and to show 2SLGBTQ+ clients that they are seen, supported, and included. EngAge BC has come up with some ways to celebrate Pride and to mark the achievements of decades of advocacy by the Queer community.