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Quigley Announces Creation of LGBT Aging Issues Task Force

Feb 19, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, proudly announced the formation of a task force within the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus to push for legislative and administrative action to protect the dignity and security of elderly LGBT people, the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force. 

“I’m proud to be a founding member of the Aging Task Force, which will be an important resource and advocate for a community of people that often experience social and cultural isolation as they age,” said Rep. Quigley. “In Chicago, we are fortunate to have the Town Hall Apartments, our area’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing development, but housing is only one piece of the puzzle. Older adults who identify as LGBT face unique and uncomfortable challenges that are not widely understood or addressed. I look forward to shedding light on this issue.”

The members of the LGBT Aging Issues Task Force are: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Co-Chairs of the LGBT Equality Caucus; Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus; and LGBT Equality Caucus members Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL).

“For many older Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, a lifetime of discrimination has undermined their right to a retirement with dignity,” said Rep. Deutch, LGBT Aging Issues Task Force Chair.  “With 76 million Baby Boomers entering or nearing retirement and more than 44 million Americans already over the age of 65, we cannot afford to ignore the unique challenges faced by LGBT seniors, especially in communities with large retiree populations like South Florida. The House Equality Caucus is committed to advocating for their needs, and I am honored to take the lead with our new Aging Task Force.”

“The task force is tasked with examining the unique challenges and vulnerabilities faced by LGBT older adults,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director Roddy Flynn.  “Too many elderly LGBT people are forced to go ‘back in the closet’ out of fear of discrimination or harassment from caregivers and housing providers.  LGBT elders also suffer from higher rates of poverty, are more likely to live alone and lack any close relatives to call for help.  These challenges are in addition to the declining health, diminished income and loss of friends and family that all older Americans face.  Despite advances in civil rights, LGBT elders remain one of the most invisible, underserved and at risk populations among elders in the United States.”

The mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. The bi-partisan LGBT Equality Caucus is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world. By serving as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBT issues, the Caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and wellbeing for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Since his election to Congress in 2009, Rep. Quigley has been a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community. At the start of the 114th Congress, Rep. Quigley was named a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. He is also an original member of the Transgender Equality Task Force. He has hosted numerous Equality Caucus briefings around the “economics of equality,” which explore economic equality in the LGBTQ community and how Congress can better address this critical issue. In January 2015, he became an original cosponsor of the International Human Rights Defense Act. Previously, he called on Illinois state legislators to pass marriage equality and celebrated when that day came. He is a co-sponsor of the original Respect for Marriage Act of 2009, and has lent his support to the national NOH8 Campaign, a global visual art protest against legislation banning gay marriage. Prior to the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, Rep. Quigley was a critical opponent of the law and hosted a DOMA field forum to investigate the negative impacts of the law on individuals and families in Chicago. In the fall of 2009, Rep. Quigley was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his work as a Cook County Commissioner to extend benefits to LGBT employees.