Skip to content
 

   

 

AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall, June 24, 2021

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19

The State of LGBTQ Equality In the COVID Era

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hello, I'm AARP Multicultural Lead Nii-Quartelai Quartey, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about LGBTQ equality during the pandemic. Now, before we begin, if you're listening via telephone and would like to hear this town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now. (Espanola)

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In light of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ older adults, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. This, coupled with the ongoing issues of discrimination that has endangered the health and financial security of the LGBTQ community, has made it a particularly challenging time. At the same time, the Senate is poised to take up the Equality Act, which would extend federal civil rights laws to provide protections for LGBTQ Americans.

Today, we'll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. And if you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. So for those of you joining us on the phone, if you would like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in the queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including a medical expert and leading advocates from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Victory Institute. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague, Dr. Julie Bates, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Jason E. Starr, director of litigation for the Human Rights Campaign. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Starr: Thank you.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Welcome, Rodrigo.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Thanks so much for having me.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: And former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who serves as the president and CEO of Victory Institute, a nonprofit that trains LGBTQ leaders. Welcome, Mayor Parker.

Annise Parker: Glad to be with you once again.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Yes, this is lucky number five. And we have Dr. Oni Blackstock, founder and executive director of Health Justice. Welcome, Dr. Blackstock. All right, let's get started with the discussion, and just a reminder to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or you can drop it in the comment section on Facebook or YouTube. Let's begin with a question for all our experts about the Equality Act. Jason, we'll start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about what the Equality Act is and where does the Equality Act stand in the legislative process?

Jason Starr: Sure. Well, again, thank you so much for this kind invitation and including the Human Rights Campaign, and hello to all of our friends at AARP. It's so good to be with you this evening. The Equality Act is a really important landmark piece of federal civil rights legislation that will provide clear and consistent nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country. More than 20 states right now lack comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in their state law for sexual orientation and/or gender identity. And this means that in employment and credit and housing and education, public spaces and services you can be in one state in our country and have a really full, comprehensive protections, and travel to a neighboring state and not have any protections. And the same can be said for folks within a particular state going from county to county or city to city. And so really what the Equality Act does is create a much-needed update to our civil rights laws, so that we not only have rights across the country, but that we know what they are and know how to vindicate them across the country.

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015, and so Congress is somewhat familiar with this legislation. It passed the House of Representatives in 2019 and just recently again in February of this year. And so, like you mentioned at the top of the call Nii, we're now in the Senate where so many others are working through that body and really, we're out across the country talking to folks so that they can talk to their elected representatives about why it's very important to have clear and consistent nondiscrimination protections and really clean up this patchwork that we have across the country right now.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Jason. Thanks for orienting us to the great importance of the Equality Act and all that it includes. Right now, I want to go to Rodrigo. Rodrigo, what will the passage of the Equality Act mean for LGBTQ adults, particularly those 50 and older, and those that are a part of the trans community?

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Passage of the Equality Act will be a landmark event. I mean, as my colleague Jason said, right now, all of us are operating under this patchwork of protections where we might be protected against discrimination and have rights in one zip code but not in another. And I think all of us can agree that your rights should not depend on your zip code. But, you know, also there's another kind of patchwork that we're operating under, which is a patchwork of what kind of place, what kind of interaction you're protected from discrimination. For example, right now, there are nondiscrimination protections on public transportation, if you're riding a bus or a train, but not if you're in a Lyft or an Uber. I mean, that's absurd. So the Equality Act would plug those gaps, as well.

And this is particularly important because public spaces are some of the areas where LGBTQ people are most harmed. Where I'm at, The National Center for Transgender Equality, we conduct the largest and most comprehensive study of transgender people's experiences. And we found that 31percent of transgender people were discriminated against in a store or a restaurant in just the last year of the survey. Now, again, that's 31 percent. That is almost 1 out of every 3 transgender people being harassed or denied service at some kind of store or restaurant or movie theater in just the last year of the survey. So that really goes to show how high the stakes are. That's how much discrimination transgender people are facing. And the Equality Act would give us a recourse. It would make it clear in black and white terms that businesses are not allowed to do that to us. And if they do, we would be able to protect our rights and make sure to fight back.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that Rodrigo. Now I'd like to turn to former Houston Mayor, and now present CEO of the Victory Institute, Annise Parker. Mayor Parker, can you share a little bit about your thoughts? You are a pioneer in your own right. You've been an elected official; you are a movement builder. What will the passage of the Equality Act mean for LGBTQ adults, particularly those over the age of 50?

Annise Parker: Well, first of all, let me say, I am an AARP member. I'm going to give a plug. I'm certainly old enough for that, but I live in Texas. I live in a state that doesn't have protections for LGBTQI individuals, and I live in a city that does not have local protections, to my shame. But one of the really cool things I did earlier today was I helped cut the ribbon on something called the Law Harrington Center. It is an LGBTQ- affirming independent-living facility for older adults. The reason that we built the Law Harrington Center, it is the largest in the country at 112 units, and one of maybe half a dozen across the United State that are LGBTQ-affirming, is that too many of our seniors are living in poverty, have no access or little access to quality housing. And when they go to a an independent-living facility for seniors, they have to go back into the closet, or they have insufficient access to the support network that they need to navigate life. We wouldn't, I mean, I'm proud of this center, I'm really grateful for everybody who helped make it happen, but the reason that we're having to build centers like this is because we don't have the Equality Act to make sure that we are treated decently and fairly at every public accommodation.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that Mayor Parker. Now I'd like to turn to Dr. Blackstock, our resident medical expert on the panel. Dr. Blackstock, as we discuss existing disparities, health disparities in the LGBTQ community, how has the health and well-being of LGBTQ older adults, how has it been uniquely challenged during the pandemic?

Oni Blackstock: So, thank you so much for having me on this panel. We know that before the pandemic, there were significant health inequities with people who are LGBTQ having higher rates of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, as well as higher rates of smoking and substance use. When we think about mental health, higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. And just to say that these inequities don't just happen out of thin air. Many are the result of systems of oppression like transphobia, homophobia, stigma and discrimination.

We know that also LGBTQ people had, before the pandemic, were less likely to have access to health care, so to have health coverage, were more likely to be discriminated against when accessing health care. And again, were more likely to live in poverty. So when the pandemic came, it basically compounded and amplified everything. So we saw worsening challenges with accessing care. So we know that many people who are LGBTQ worked in industries, such as the hospitality industry, childcare, that were most impacted by the pandemic, and so lost their jobs as a result. You know, when people often lose their jobs in the United States, they then often lose their health insurance. They can also, if they have health insurance, still have trouble affording care, so covering copays and other medical costs. We know that for instance, the Trans Lifeline, the crisis hotline, received a lot more calls about people being unable to access care during the pandemic. And then when it comes to mental health, we know that with social distancing there were higher rates of social isolation, depression. In a survey that Kaiser Family Foundation did, they found that LGBTQ respondents were more likely to report worry and stress related to the pandemic, and that the stress was major. And then we also know that because, again, the industries that LGBTQ folks tend to work in, we were more exposed to COVID-19. So all of these factors really have magnified and amplified the impact on LGBTQ communities and have impacted the health and well-being of our community as well.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: And again, on the point of health and well-being, Dr. Blackstock, can you share any advice that you'd offer that might help us to support sort of the mental health among our friends and loved ones? You and I have done panels before, and we've talked a little bit about our health and well-being from the neck up and the neck down. Can you share a little bit about support for our friends and loved ones on the mental front?

Oni Blackstock: Yeah, this is such an important question because we're dealing with both individual and collective trauma from the pandemic. So something as simple as just sharing your observations with a family member or friend or colleague that you see may be struggling, saying something like, you know, I've noticed that you you've seem different lately. Is everything OK? You know, it makes me concerned hearing you talk in this way. Let me see, can I help you? And then offering support — how can I best support you right now? Is there something I can do? Is there an appointment that I can help you make? Are there chores? Are there tasks that you need to do that I can help you with until you feel better. Would you like me to go to a support group with you? Do you need a ride to your appointments? And then just really checking in regularly, calling or texting family members or friends that we're concerned about. And then, obviously, if things seem very concerning, obviously reaching out to 911 or for medical, emergent medical or psychiatric care.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. It's now time to address your questions about the LGBTQ Equality Act and the coronavirus with Dr. Oni Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and Annise Parker. I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague, Dr. Julie Bates, to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Julie.

Julie Bates: Thank you so much, Dr. Quartey. I am happy to be here for this conversation. We have lots and lots of questions from those of our members who are on the phone and on Facebook and on YouTube. So the first question that I'd like to bring live for us all is Christopher in Ohio. Christopher?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hi Christopher.

Christopher: Hello. How are you?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Good, please ask your question.

Christopher: OK. The question basically deals with the pandemic and how our community, the LBGTQ community, is responding to the disease, and how many of us have been vaccinated?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Dr. Blackstock, can you share a little bit about any numbers, any your research numbers that suggest how well the LGBTQ community is fairing in terms of vaccinations across the country. Any trends?

Oni Blackstock: Yeah, happy to talk on this topic. So the challenge has really been that there is a lack of systematic collection of this data. I mean, there are a few states that are beginning to do this in terms of collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity, but most state actually are not routinely collecting this data when people go to get vaccinated. So there's this issue of like, when you say like no data, no problem, we don't know the extent to which there may be inequities that exist between the LGBTQ community and the general population and vaccine rates. There have been a number of surveys done, where it does not appear that LGBTQ people are less likely to get the vaccine. They seem equally likely, although when we look at, for instance, Black, indigenous and other people of color who are LGBTQ, there does seem to be sort of less willingness to get the vaccine. And we've heard a lot about why that might be the case, you know, driven by experiences with the health care system and in greater society.

So we are trying to get a handle on that. There are there's a research collaborative that has just formed, including a number of LGBTQ federally-qualified health centers, that is trying to sort of get at what is the impact of COVID-19 on people who are LGBTQ, as well as vaccinations. But the challenge is we need sort of routine collection of this data, so we can have a very clear picture of whether there are inequities that exist or not.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. Dr. Bates, next question please.

Julie Bates: All right. I'm going to share a question from our Facebook watchers, and this question is, and I'll read it to you, "I identify as nonbinary. Does the government or certain governmental departments recognize a gender-neutral designation? Is this something that will be changed possibly by the Equality Act?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Rodrigo, I'd like to invite you to respond to that question, being that the National Center for Transgender Equality is a leading voice in this work.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Absolutely. This is a great question. Thank you for asking. So the good news is that an increasing number of government entities are recognizing X gender markers. So for anyone else listening, who's not aware, nonbinary basically means identifying as neither a man nor a woman. And that is true for a lot of us. And so we need an option of an X gender marker on our identity documents, some alternatives to an M or an F. So to answer your question, over a dozen states have now implemented the X gender marker, which is really exciting. If we were doing this call just a few years ago, the number would have been zero. So we're making really rapid progress to have over a dozen states using the X gender marker on state records is fantastic. We, obviously, need to bring that up to be all 50 states and territories, and then we also need to make this happen on the federal level, because even if you live in one of these states with the X gender marker, that only applies to your state documents, so things like your driver's license. But it does not apply to, say, a passport. So we gotta fix that. We gotta make it universal. At NCTE we are working with the Biden Administration to make this happen. We actually have a meeting coming up with the State Department to start adding this option of the X gender marker on federal records. It's a slow and steady process though. And so I really encourage you to write to your elected officials at both the state and the federal level. Let them know that this is something that you care about so that they understand just how important this is.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Rodrigo. Dr. Bates, next question please.

Julie Bates: Wonderful. I have Janice in Wilmington. Janice, please ask your question of our experts.

Janice: I want to know, my granddaughter got married in Florida to an African American girl. In the State of Delaware, we do not recognize that. Gay people fall in love. My granddaughter has been married for six years, and I love her husband or wife or whatever you want to call them. When you love your grandchildren, you love everything. So why should we discriminate, any state, against this? Thank you.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, thank you for that. Jason, is there a comment that you want to share? Do you want to comment on that?

Jason Starr: Well first, I'm sorry to hear that you are having that experience. I can hear the distress in your voice. Now, the Supreme Court actually settled this issue a few years ago when it articulated a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a case called Burgerfeld v Hodges. And so I would look really skeptically at nonrecognition of a marriage in Delaware that was lawfully performed in Florida. So I don't want to give you any legal advice specific to your situation in this forum, but certainly if there are issues that you or others are having with the legal recognition of marriage, certainly you can reach out to the Human Rights Campaign or a sort of local organizations and state that you might be connected to. But just for folks to know out there, marriages that are lawfully performed in any state in this country are going to be recognized in any other state after that Supreme Court decision.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Jason. Dr. Bates, next question please.

Julie Bates: Our next question comes from Sarah in New York.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Welcome Sarah from New York. What's your question?

Sarah: Yes, hi. I hope you could help me. My question here is regarding people who are in the LGBTQ community, but who have other disabilities that are not necessarily cared for in health, and that they should have training for people who have more than one issue. Like people who are dyslexic, or people who are autistic, or people who have psychological issues. And I feel that there's no training and no professional knowledge for these individuals who may want to avail themselves of medical help, and they really don't have individuals who are trained to help them.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Miss Sarah. I want to take that question to Dr. Blackstock. Dr. Blackstock, can you share a little bit about the state of culturally competent care in the health care profession, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ folks and people with disabilities, so many folks that Miss Sarah from New York mentioned?

Oni Blackstock: So I was unable to hear Sarah's full question. Was there more context to it?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: So, she was generally asking about culturally competent care in health care. And if you could talk a little bit about sort of the state of play for culturally competent care for LGBTQ folks, for folks living with disabilities, in other traditionally marginalized groups. That was the point that she was raising.

Oni Blackstock: OK. Yes, no, this is such a critically important question because we know that when many folks, LGBTQ folks, folks with disabilities, go to seek care, they can often have very traumatizing experiences and be discriminated against. So I think with the awareness of many of the inequities that have been amplified during the COVID pandemic, we have seen an increase in attention to ensuring that health care professionals across the spectrum, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physicians are getting the training that they need.

So, for instance, I used to work at the New York City Health Department. We have trainings available around LGBTQ health for clinical providers. I know that in medical schools and nursing schools, this is increasingly becoming an area of focus where students and those in training are really learning how to provide care to people who may have different backgrounds from themselves. And then we're seeing a number of, you know, the Fenway Institute and a number of larger organizations, also offer training in LGBTQ health for providers, as well. So there are lots of different ways in which providers can get this training. We need to also make sure that health care institutions are requiring these types of trainings for providers to ensure that everyone is getting both culturally and structurally competent care.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. Julie, do we have another caller?

Julie Bates: We do. Our next caller is Rob in Arizona.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Rob from Arizona. What's your question? Rob from Arizona, are you there?

Rob: Yes, I'm here.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: What's your question?

Rob: The question is for those of us that are HIV-positive, because there was some talk about how effective the vaccines were of immune-challenged persons, is there a test like the antibody test that would be recommended for those of us that are in that category to see whether the vaccines are effective?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Dr. Blackstock, can you talk about the efficacy of the vaccine for people living with HIV?

Oni Blackstock: So, in general, if someone is living with HIV, but their viral load is suppressed, their T-cell count, so a measure of how strong their immune system is, if that is on the higher side, there's no reason to think that the vaccine shouldn't be equally efficacious or effective in terms of preventing infection with the novel coronavirus. There is some concern when folks who are maybe substantially more immunocompromised in terms of being able to sort of fight off infection, but I think we're not seeing from the clinical trials that were done. For instance, the J & J vaccine was studied in South Africa; it had a large number of people living with HIV, and it appeared to be as equally efficacious in people living with HIV as those who were not living with HIV. So, unless there's some major contraindication or something that your physician has told you, the party line is that we want everyone, including people living with HIV, to get the vaccine. There's no suggestion or indication right now that people should get like a follow-up antibody test to ensure that the vaccine produced an immune response. The assumption is that it probably will.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Dr. Blackstock, and thank you for your questions. Now let's turn back to our experts and talk about some of the economic implications. Jason, talk to us a little bit about the economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community.

Jason Starr: Sure. You know, I think it's really important to look at how the LGBTQ community writ large sort of came into the pandemic. They're more likely to work in jobs that were ultimately in affected industries like food and building service and retail. Those folks that we termed essential workers, but I think sometimes treated a little more as disposable or discarded workers. LGBTQ folks are less likely to have health coverage and access to culturally competent medical providers in a relationship with a doctor, with a pharmacy that they know and trust. And you know, more likely to have some of the chronic illnesses that we now know contribute to a greater likelihood of complications from COVID-19. And so I think that and a constellation of other factors really came together. And what we've seen coming out of the pandemic is that LGBTQ folks are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed, have cut hours or lowered wages, and compound many of the economic impacts that have led to disparities. And again, based on discrimination, we go back to the conversation about the Equality Act and nondiscrimination protections. Those have real economic impacts over time. So that history of pervasive discrimination, and particularly in employment, leaves LGBTQ workers more vulnerable when crises like the pandemic happen.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Jason, I understand the Human Rights Campaign conducted a study and found economic inequities among Black folks, Latinx folks, transgender folks, within and across the LGBTQ community as a result of COVID-19. Can you talk a little bit more squarely about the unique impact on communities of color under the rainbow?

Jason Starr: Certainly, I think it's important to disaggregate our communities within communities. First I'll say, our federal government and most state and local governments don't collect comprehensive data on these impacts for LGBTQ people. So sometimes it can really even be difficult to sort of put a fine point on the ways in which the intersection of these identities, or really certain marginalized identities, create really unique impacts. But I think it's important to think about the ways in which COVID-19 affected racial minorities, for example, with Black folks accounting for 22 percent of all COVID deaths. In New York where I live, Latin folks constituting 34 percent of deaths. In New Mexico, 50 percent of deaths were indigenous folks, even though they only make up 11 percent of the population. So you have folks in community who are Black, Latinx, indigenous, right, and experiencing the health impacts both individual and collectively of the pandemic much more significantly than their white counterparts. And then you have LGBTQ folks and communities, and when you bring those two identities together, what we really saw, not only is just a compounding of the disparities across a number of indicators, but I think really unique, traumatic harms.

It's important to remember that while we're also sort of going through and experiencing the pandemic of COVID-19, we were experiencing a pandemic of racial trauma associated with police violence, contemporaneously. And so, Black LGBTQ folks, Latin LGBTQ folks, indigenous LGBTQ folks, our identities aren't siloed. They come together, and too often, their institutions sort of want us to disaggregate those things. And I think it's really important that we look at the ways in which those identities really create compounding harms across a number of metrics, but also create sort of really unique harms to folks who sit at those intersections.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Jason. You really put a finer point on something that my team and I say often around here, no data, no justice. And so thank you for that. I now want to turn to Rodrigo. Rodrigo, what are some of the key challenges and policies affecting transgender older adults, especially as it relates to their health security and their financial resilience?

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Well, one of the biggest challenges facing transgender older adults is health care access, and this is both about having often been denied fair health care access earlier in life, and some things that are really unique to being older. So the first point about just health care experiences that transgender people face, well, this is an area that's unfortunately rife for discrimination. Again, with the survey that the National Center for Transgender Equality does, we found that one-third of those who saw a health care provider in the last year had a negative experience, purely because they happen to be transgender. So again, that's one-third. One out of 3 people who saw a doctor were verbally harassed, they were refused treatment, or maybe they went in for a broken bone and the doctor said, ‘I don't know what to do with you people. I don't treat people like you,’ even though you're just there for a broken bone. A transgender person's bones are the same as a non-transgender person's bones, right. But to think of being turned away or judged in a moment of need like that is really heartbreaking, and it's scary if you're experiencing a health issue.

So when we're thinking about transgender older adults, number one, you have this accumulation of a lifetime of not getting the health care that you need. So there's a lot of older trans folks are dealing with health conditions that are worse, that are more advanced than they really needed to be because they had to defer health care for so long, because they couldn't get that health care easily, or they couldn't afford that health care when they were younger when it wasn't as big of a problem.

And then unique to that life stage of being older is that there's not a lot of research of the effect of a lot of the medications that we take on older adults overtime. So speaking for myself, I'm a transgender man. I take testosterone as a lot of us do. Not all of us, but a lot of us. And there's not enough research out there about what is the effect of a lifetime's worth of testosterone injections? What does that mean when you're in your 50s, 60s, 70s? We know that generally, it is safe to take testosterone, but we need a lot more research to make them more sophisticated, to make sure that we're really doing this right for when we do reach that more advanced stage. And lastly, we need to be able to access other facilities like supported-living facilities or facilities that help you when you experience dementia. All of those facilities need to be able to respect transgender residents and transgender patients, as well. We are a part of society. We're getting older, like anyone else, and these facilities need to be able to treat us with respect just like they would with any other client.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for sharing that, Rodrigo, and really thank you for sharing your personal story and for really humanizing the issue. Quickly, are there some resources? What resources in like 20 seconds, can you point folks to, folks that are transgender older adults themselves, or are the loved ones or friends of transgender older adults?

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Yes, well really quickly, right now there is open enrollment period on health insurance. If you do not have insurance right now, normally you can only opt into it in what's called the marketplace, or you might just hear it shorthand as Obamacare. Normally you can only enroll at certain times of year. Well, right now there's a special period. So if you do not have health insurance, I really urge you to go to out2enroll.org. That's out2enroll.org. That is an LGBT center resource for getting health insurance. It is much more affordable than you might think. So do not let the cost deter you. Check it out. And then also if you're transgender, especially, but also even if you're not, it's really important to document your needs and desires. So think about what kinds of health care directives do you need? You know, if something happens and you lose consciousness, what kind of support do you need or medical care. Document that, write it down and have a friend look it over.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Rodrigo. Now I'd like to turn to former Houston Mayor, and no stranger to our AARP tele-town halls, former Mayor Annise Parker. Mayor Parker, what is the Victory Institute doing to prevent an uneven recovery at the local, state and federal level? We know that there's a record number of out elected and appointed elected officials across the country that will play a crucial role in this. What are they doing?

Annise Parker: So we have a unique position in that we are not a policy organization. We work through and with LGBTQ elected officials across the country. A great example of the kind of work that's being done on the ground is Robert Garcia, who is the mayor of Long Beach, California. Ninety-nine percent of his seniors over the age of 65 have been vaccinated. And 66 percent of his community has been vaccinated. And the reason that that has happened is that he had culturally competent messaging. He took vaccines into the community, and he worked with the community. The same kinds of techniques are going to be needed in the recovery. This has to be about, not just let's just go back to normal or what was before, but how do we make sure that the PPP money that is still available is reaching the appropriate communities? How do we make sure that small businesses that are owned by [inaudible] communities are receiving those dollars? So what we do is that we make sure that all of the tools, resources and information is distributed among the networks of elected officials across our community.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Mayor Parker. Real quick, I want to go back to Rodrigo. You know, the coronavirus pandemic has spotlighted a lack of access to gender-affirming care. How has this historic lack of access influenced sort of the willingness and the ability of folks to access a COVID vaccine?

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Well, since so many transgender people have had bad experiences in health care, like I was mentioning before, they don't really know where to go or how to get the vaccine. Even people who want to get the vaccine and are ready for it, thank God, I don't even know where the clinic is because I kind of gave up on trying to access health care. So some of the barriers that transgender people face to get the vaccine are really, really practical. It's about not knowing where to go, not knowing that it's free. A lot of transgender people live in poverty and would not be able to afford it if it costs money, but we really got to get the message out there that it is free, free, free, free, free. There's a lot of misinformation. You do not need insurance. And then we need to have more transportation and expanded hours at these clinics distributing the vaccine. A lot of transgender people have also heard some misinformation that somehow the vaccine was not tested on people who take hormones, and so it's dangerous for trans people. That is a hundred percent false. The vaccine is safe, it is safe for people who are transgender, just like it is safe for people who are not. So if you're at all nervous about getting the vaccine because you've experienced discrimination, I recommend going with a friend. Find someone who you do trust, who can go with you, and they can support you through it. And I guarantee, you'll be in and out in 20 minutes, and it's totally worth it.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Rodrigo. Going back to Mayor Parker. Can you share examples — you just talked a little bit about our friend, Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach, California. Can you share any other examples of how out elected and appointed officials are addressing LGBTQ disparities and access to COVID vaccines in any sort of unique way, sort of informed by their own lived experience?

Annise Parker: So another great example is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the focus that she's putting on communities of color in Chicago and making sure that as relief dollars come in, as they reopen parts of the community, that it's not distributed equally across the community, but that that rent relief money spent on the hospitality community to make up for lost paychecks, that those are targeted to the communities most in need. And that a lot of the focus right now on rent relief and evictions, which is a huge problem across the country, and again, disproportionately to the LGBTQ community for reasons we've already discussed, that she's taking the lead among other mayors in making sure that there's targeted relief to those communities most in need. It's easy to say, let's go back to the way it was before. We can do better than the way it was before.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that, Mayor Parker. You know, two really incredible examples of what an equitable recovery can begin to look like. Another example of advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community is how AARP, AARP Foundation, SAGE and the American Society on Aging, also known as ASA, how they weighed in by filing an amicus brief in the United State Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit arguing in support of LGBTQ surviving couples who were denied Social Security survivor benefits due to a requirement that they must have been married for at least nine months to qualify for survivor benefits. This requirement discriminates against LGBTQ couples who could not marry sooner because of unconstitutional laws banning same-sex marriage. Mayor Parker, given the increased level of advocacy for LGBTQ equality, from your perch, what more can be done?

Annise Parker: I'm afraid I didn't hear the question all the way through. My dog was barking in the background. This is the deal of working from home.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: No worries. No worries. I'll ask it again. You know, it's the COVID life here. Given the increased level of advocacy for LGBTQ equality across the country, from your perch, pulling from your experience as a former mayor, as a movement builder, as the present CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund Institute, what more can be done to advance equality in our country?

Annise Parker: Well, we need to pass the Equality Act because we will continue to have a patchwork of laws, but it's not just about the legal protections available to our community, it's also about winning hearts and minds and making sure that we continue to increase LGBTQ visibility in all aspects of life. I recognize the impact I had as an out public official, and I recognize the work I do now as a movement leader. But the most powerful thing that any of us can do in our lives is being open and honest and out, because that paves the way for the folks who are going to come behind us. And as we have seen over and over again in the last few years, the attacks, particularly on the transgender community coming out of the state legislatures across the country, are targeted precisely because I don't think there's anybody in America who can say legitimately today, they don't know someone who is gay or lesbian, but for many, many people the discussion about who and what it means to be transgender hasn't happened. And it is an unknown. And as long as something is an unknown, people can feel comfortable discriminating against that person. So we have an opportunity to put laws in place, necessary laws that will expand protections, but we have a responsibility to make sure that we continue having these dialogues and speak up. And each of us individually can be a part of that. We don't have to wait for the movement to happen.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you for that. Thank you for that friendly reminder. Before we take questions from our members, we want to address an important issue. We know that some of you are still having challenges getting access to the vaccine. AARP wants to help. The AARP Vaccine Finders Support Team is available to try to connect you to community resources, including resources that can transport you to your vaccine appointment or come to your home. So if you're listening today and can't get vaccinated because of transportation, because of mobility or other issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a phone call from AARP staff to assist you. Again, if you are listening today and cannot get a vaccine because of transportation, mobility or other issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a phone call. When you call, you'll listen to a brief message and then be returned to this program.

Now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and Annise Parker. Julie, who do we have on the line?

Julie Bates: All right, our next question comes from Lynn in West Hollywood.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hi, Lynn from West Hollywood. What's your question?

Lynn: Hi, great, great topic. Can you hear me?

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Yes, we can.

Lynn: OK. So first I'd like to say that I like the idea where it says we are operating in a patchwork of protections, but you know how it should end, based on color and zip code. And living in LA, I will say this. There is disparity among South LA LGBT and West Hollywood LGBT. During COVID, American Healthcare Foundation, which is a huge foundation, was allotted a clinical trial of one of the vaccines earlier on. And the location of that clinical trial was in West Hollywood. So if you wanted it and you lived in South LA, which is primarily a biopic community, you had to travel all the way to West LA. There was no such clinical trial in the community. So I think there's a misrepresentation that the LGBT community is all-inclusive. There is so much more work that has to be done within our own community. We cannot tell the world to embrace us if we are not embracing all within our own community. I think that's a lot to ask. We have to take care of home first before we do all of this other stuff. And I would just like a comment to that. And I witnessed that myself. It's not a statistic that I'm reading, I saw that for myself, and I was somewhat disheartened. Because if I want movement as an African American, I tend to align myself with those things that are going on, and I get better results. So I'd just like for someone to speak to that.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Sure, sure. Thank you, Lynn, and we're going to weave a response to your question into the next question. Dr. Bates?

Julie Bates: Oh, and the next question, let's take Elizabeth from Sun City.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Elizabeth, you're on. What's your question?

Elizabeth: My question is, I thank you so much really for this conversation, but I'm not really sure whether it's the one that I need. Cause you sound like you're talking more about the elderly, and my question is about my grandson who told me about four years ago that he liked guys, but he also said he liked girls, and we didn't have an extensive conversation about that at that time, and we haven't over the next four years.

So he's 20 now. He was in college, and well the last year he studied at home. Well, what he's done now is he's on probation 'cause he did not do well. He had a job. He only had it for three or four days, and he walked off at lunch and never went back. So I'm wondering, what can I do to help him? His dad doesn't know, and we have other members in the family, but no one else knows as far as I know at this point but me.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: I'm going to ask Jason to weigh in real briefly on that question. What support may exist for that young man, that young person in community?

Jason Starr: Well, I mean, I'm going to preface this by saying I'm a lawyer and not someone who often finds myself connecting folks. But it's a great question. And I can talk about this from personal experience as a queer young man who grew up in an environment where folks may have wanted to do the right thing, but didn't know how. So I think the first is giving him space to discover and be, and I think that's so true for queer young people, just having a really safe environment to be able to explore your sexual orientation or your gender identity, who you are as a person. And that isn't always the case at work or at school or in certain other places where young people find themselves in community. So what I'm really excited to hear in your question is that at least in one family member, in one person, he's got someone that's going to really create an environment at home where it's safe to explore those identities.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Jason. Mayor Parker, was there anything you wanted in response to either one of the questions?

Annise Parker: Well, absolutely. We talk about the LGBTQI community, but because we are part of every racial and ethnic group, we have differences, we have divides, we're not all perfect people, and so yes, we have to struggle as a movement and as organizations to make sure that we're sensitive to those community members who are underrepresented and may need particular attention to make sure they are included in trials, in access to COVID relief, and so forth. But to the woman who was just on, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother, and I want to say what a tremendous compliment it is to you that your grandson was able and willing to come out to you when he wasn't to anyone else in the family. There's a lot to unpack in what you asked for. So what you can do for him is to be a strong and supportive ally, because one of the things that strongest preventions of our young people hurting themselves, committing suicide is having someone in the family who was willing to be a resource and someone they can access. So I want to thank you for that. Stay with him. Stay connected with him. Kick his ass and tell him to go to school or get a job, but make sure that you keep the lines of communication open for him as to be able to talk about as him exploring his sexuality.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mayor Parker, and I just want to quickly go to Dr. Blackstock in 30 seconds. What tips do you have for initiating conversations about vaccine hesitancy or vaccine delay in a respectful and meaningful way in 30 seconds.

Oni Blackstock: Sure, I just want to say, I think it's less hesitancy and more valid and justified concerns, but I would just say it's important to enter the conversation from a place of curiosity and wonder and wanting to understand versus a conversation around judgment and shaming. It's great to ask open-ended questions. You could say, ‘I remember you mentioning XYZ about the vaccine. I'm wondering what your thinking is now. Tell me, what are your worries? What are your concerns?’ And really affirming people for taking whatever measures they've taken so far to stay safe and keep their community safe. And then also, if you want to share information, asking permission first and then sharing information once the person says, ‘OK, I'm willing to hear.’ So those are just some tidbits about how to have a respectful and meaningful conversation around vaccine concerns.

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Thank you, Dr. Blackstock. This has been such a rich and informative discussion. I want to say a big thank you to each of you for answering our questions to Jason, to Rodrigo, to Mayor Parker, and Dr. Blackstock and even Dr. Bates. Thank you all so much. And thank you to our AARP members and volunteers and listeners in communities across the country for participating in this discussion. I want to remind you that AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, and we've been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves.

All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on June 25. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope that you've learned something valuable today, something that can keep you and your loved ones healthy. We want to thank you for joining us. And for the months of July and August, we will pause our COVID tele-town hall programming with plans to resume on Sept. 16. We hope that you'll join us then. Thank you and have a good day. Happy pride, everyone. This concludes our call.

The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era Transcript With Timestamps

Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Hello, I'm AARP Multicultural Lead Nii-Quartelai Quartey, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about LGBTQ equality during the pandemic. Now, before we begin, if you're listening via telephone and would like to hear this town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Espanola]

[00:00:31] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In light of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ older adults, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. This, coupled with the ongoing issues of discrimination that has endangered the health and financial security of the LGBTQ community, has made it a particularly challenging time. At the same time, the Senate is poised to take up the Equality Act, which would extend federal civil rights laws to provide protections for LGBTQ Americans.

[00:01:17] Today, we'll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. And if you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. So for those of you joining us on the phone, if you would like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in the queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:02:19] We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including a medical expert and leading advocates from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Victory Institute. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague, Dr. Julie Bates, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:03:04] Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Jason E. Starr, director of litigation for the Human Rights Campaign. Welcome, Jason.

[00:03:13]Jason Starr:  Thank you.

[00:03:14]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Welcome, Rodrigo.

[00:03:24]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Thanks so much for having me.

[00:03:26]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  And former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who serves as the president and CEO of Victory Institute, a nonprofit that trains LGBTQ leaders. Welcome, Mayor Parker.

[00:03:39]Annise Parker:  Glad to be with you once again.

[00:03:40]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Yes, this is lucky number five. And we have Dr. Oni Blackstock, founder and executive director of Health Justice. Welcome, Dr. Blackstock. All right, let's get started with the discussion, and just a reminder to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or you can drop it in the comment section on Facebook or YouTube. Let's begin with a question for all our experts about the Equality Act. Jason, we'll start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about what the Equality Act is and where does the Equality Act stand in the legislative process?

[00:04:20]Jason Starr:  Sure. Well, again, thank you so much for this kind invitation and including the Human Rights Campaign, and hello to all of our friends at AARP. It's so good to be with you this evening. The Equality Act is a really important landmark piece of federal civil rights legislation that will provide clear and consistent nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country. More than 20 states right now lack comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in their state law for sexual orientation and/or gender identity. And this means that in employment and credit and housing and education, public spaces and services you can be in one state in our country and have a really full, comprehensive protections, and travel to a neighboring state and not have any protections. And the same can be said for folks within a particular state going from county to county or city to city. And so really what the Equality Act does is create a much-needed update to our civil rights laws, so that we not only have rights across the country, but that we know what they are and know how to vindicate them across the country.

[00:05:43] The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015, and so Congress is somewhat familiar with this legislation. It passed the House of Representatives in 2019 and just recently again in February of this year. And so, like you mentioned at the top of the call Nii, we're now in the Senate where so many others are working through that body and really, we're out across the country talking to folks so that they can talk to their elected representatives about why it's very important to have clear and consistent nondiscrimination protections and really clean up this patchwork that we have across the country right now.

[00:06:20]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Jason. Thanks for orienting us to the great importance of the Equality Act and all that it includes. Right now, I want to go to Rodrigo. Rodrigo, what will the passage of the Equality Act mean for LGBTQ adults, particularly those 50 and older, and those that are a part of the trans community?

[00:06:41]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Passage of the Equality Act will be a landmark event. I mean, as my colleague Jason said, right now, all of us are operating under this patchwork of protections where we might be protected against discrimination and have rights in one zip code but not in another. And I think all of us can agree that your rights should not depend on your zip code. But, you know, also there's another kind of patchwork that we're operating under, which is a patchwork of what kind of place, what kind of interaction you're protected from discrimination. For example, right now, there are nondiscrimination protections on public transportation, if you're riding a bus or a train, but not if you're in a Lyft or an Uber. I mean, that's absurd. So the Equality Act would plug those gaps, as well.

[00:07:31] And this is particularly important because public spaces are some of the areas where LGBTQ people are most harmed. Where I'm at, The National Center for Transgender Equality, we conduct the largest and most comprehensive study of transgender people's experiences. And we found that 31percent of transgender people were discriminated against in a store or a restaurant in just the last year of the survey. Now, again, that's 31 percent. That is almost 1 out of every 3 transgender people being harassed or denied service at some kind of store or restaurant or movie theater in just the last year of the survey. So that really goes to show how high the stakes are. That's how much discrimination transgender people are facing. And the Equality Act would give us a recourse. It would make it clear in black and white terms that businesses are not allowed to do that to us. And if they do, we would be able to protect our rights and make sure to fight back.

[00:08:39]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that Rodrigo. Now I'd like to turn to former Houston Mayor, and now present CEO of the Victory Institute, Annise Parker. Mayor Parker, can you share a little bit about your thoughts? You are a pioneer in your own right. You've been an elected official; you are a movement builder. What will the passage of the Equality Act mean for LGBTQ adults, particularly those over the age of 50?

[00:09:06]Annise Parker:  Well, first of all, let me say, I am an AARP member. I'm going to give a plug. I'm certainly old enough for that, but I live in Texas. I live in a state that doesn't have protections for LGBTQI individuals, and I live in a city that does not have local protections, to my shame. But one of the really cool things I did earlier today was I helped cut the ribbon on something called the Law Harrington Center. It is an LGBTQ- affirming independent-living facility for older adults. The reason that we built the Law Harrington Center, it is the largest in the country at 112 units, and one of maybe half a dozen across the United State that are LGBTQ-affirming, is that too many of our seniors are living in poverty, have no access or little access to quality housing. And when they go to a an independent-living facility for seniors, they have to go back into the closet, or they have insufficient access to the support network that they need to navigate life. We wouldn't, I mean, I'm proud of this center, I'm really grateful for everybody who helped make it happen, but the reason that we're having to build centers like this is because we don't have the Equality Act to make sure that we are treated decently and fairly at every public accommodation.

[00:10:38]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that Mayor Parker. Now I'd like to turn to Dr. Blackstock, our resident medical expert on the panel. Dr. Blackstock, as we discuss existing disparities, health disparities in the LGBTQ community, how has the health and well-being of LGBTQ older adults, how has it been uniquely challenged during the pandemic?

[00:11:02]Oni Blackstock:  So, thank you so much for having me on this panel. We know that before the pandemic, there were significant health inequities with people who are LGBTQ having higher rates of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, as well as higher rates of smoking and substance use. When we think about mental health, higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. And just to say that these inequities don't just happen out of thin air. Many are the result of systems of oppression like transphobia, homophobia, stigma and discrimination.

[00:11:36] We know that also LGBTQ people had, before the pandemic, were less likely to have access to health care, so to have health coverage, were more likely to be discriminated against when accessing health care. And again, were more likely to live in poverty. So when the pandemic came, it basically compounded and amplified everything. So we saw worsening challenges with accessing care. So we know that many people who are LGBTQ worked in industries, such as the hospitality industry, childcare, that were most impacted by the pandemic, and so lost their jobs as a result. You know, when people often lose their jobs in the United States, they then often lose their health insurance. They can also, if they have health insurance, still have trouble affording care, so covering copays and other medical costs. We know that for instance, the Trans Lifeline, the crisis hotline, received a lot more calls about people being unable to access care during the pandemic. And then when it comes to mental health, we know that with social distancing there were higher rates of social isolation, depression. In a survey that Kaiser Family Foundation did, they found that LGBTQ respondents were more likely to report worry and stress related to the pandemic, and that the stress was major. And then we also know that because, again, the industries that LGBTQ folks tend to work in, we were more exposed to COVID-19. So all of these factors really have magnified and amplified the impact on LGBTQ communities and have impacted the health and well-being of our community as well.

[00:13:21]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  And again, on the point of health and well-being, Dr. Blackstock, can you share any advice that you'd offer that might help us to support sort of the mental health among our friends and loved ones? You and I have done panels before, and we've talked a little bit about our health and well-being from the neck up and the neck down. Can you share a little bit about support for our friends and loved ones on the mental front?

[00:13:44]Oni Blackstock:  Yeah, this is such an important question because we're dealing with both individual and collective trauma from the pandemic. So something as simple as just sharing your observations with a family member or friend or colleague that you see may be struggling, saying something like, you know, I've noticed that you you've seem different lately. Is everything OK? You know, it makes me concerned hearing you talk in this way. Let me see, can I help you? And then offering support — how can I best support you right now? Is there something I can do? Is there an appointment that I can help you make? Are there chores? Are there tasks that you need to do that I can help you with until you feel better. Would you like me to go to a support group with you? Do you need a ride to your appointments? And then just really checking in regularly, calling or texting family members or friends that we're concerned about. And then, obviously, if things seem very concerning, obviously reaching out to 911 or for medical, emergent medical or psychiatric care.

[00:14:50]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. It's now time to address your questions about the LGBTQ Equality Act and the coronavirus with Dr. Oni Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and Annise Parker. I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague, Dr. Julie Bates, to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Julie.

[00:15:38]Julie Bates:  Thank you so much, Dr. Quartey. I am happy to be here for this conversation. We have lots and lots of questions from those of our members who are on the phone and on Facebook and on YouTube. So the first question that I'd like to bring live for us all is Christopher in Ohio. Christopher?

[00:16:00]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Hi Christopher.

[00:16:02]Christopher:  Hello. How are you?

[00:16:03]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Good, please ask your question.

[00:16:05]Christopher:  OK. The question basically deals with the pandemic and how our community, the LBGTQ community, is responding to the disease, and how many of us have been vaccinated?

[00:16:25]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Dr. Blackstock, can you share a little bit about any numbers, any your research numbers that suggest how well the LGBTQ community is fairing in terms of vaccinations across the country. Any trends?

[00:16:41]Oni Blackstock:  Yeah, happy to talk on this topic. So the challenge has really been that there is a lack of systematic collection of this data. I mean, there are a few states that are beginning to do this in terms of collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity, but most state actually are not routinely collecting this data when people go to get vaccinated. So there's this issue of like, when you say like no data, no problem, we don't know the extent to which there may be inequities that exist between the LGBTQ community and the general population and vaccine rates. There have been a number of surveys done, where it does not appear that LGBTQ people are less likely to get the vaccine. They seem equally likely, although when we look at, for instance, Black, indigenous and other people of color who are LGBTQ, there does seem to be sort of less willingness to get the vaccine. And we've heard a lot about why that might be the case, you know, driven by experiences with the health care system and in greater society.

[00:17:48] So we are trying to get a handle on that. There are there's a research collaborative that has just formed, including a number of LGBTQ federally-qualified health centers, that is trying to sort of get at what is the impact of COVID-19 on people who are LGBTQ, as well as vaccinations. But the challenge is we need sort of routine collection of this data, so we can have a very clear picture of whether there are inequities that exist or not.

[00:18:14]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. Dr. Bates, next question please.

[00:18:20]Julie Bates:  All right. I'm going to share a question from our Facebook watchers, and this question is, and I'll read it to you, "I identify as nonbinary. Does the government or certain governmental departments recognize a gender-neutral designation? Is this something that will be changed possibly by the Equality Act?

[00:18:44]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Rodrigo, I'd like to invite you to respond to that question, being that the National Center for Transgender Equality is a leading voice in this work.

[00:18:54]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Absolutely. This is a great question. Thank you for asking. So the good news is that an increasing number of government entities are recognizing X gender markers. So for anyone else listening, who's not aware, nonbinary basically means identifying as neither a man nor a woman. And that is true for a lot of us. And so we need an option of an X gender marker on our identity documents, some alternatives to an M or an F. So to answer your question, over a dozen states have now implemented the X gender marker, which is really exciting. If we were doing this call just a few years ago, the number would have been zero. So we're making really rapid progress to have over a dozen states using the X gender marker on state records is fantastic. We, obviously, need to bring that up to be all 50 states and territories, and then we also need to make this happen on the federal level, because even if you live in one of these states with the X gender marker, that only applies to your state documents, so things like your driver's license. But it does not apply to, say, a passport. So we gotta fix that. We gotta make it universal. At NCTE we are working with the Biden Administration to make this happen. We actually have a meeting coming up with the State Department to start adding this option of the X gender marker on federal records. It's a slow and steady process though. And so I really encourage you to write to your elected officials at both the state and the federal level. Let them know that this is something that you care about so that they understand just how important this is.

[00:20:36]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Rodrigo. Dr. Bates, next question please.

[00:20:42]Julie Bates:  Wonderful. I have Janice in Wilmington. Janice, please ask your question of our experts.

[00:20:50]Janice:  I want to know, my granddaughter got married in Florida to an African American girl. In the State of Delaware, we do not recognize that. Gay people fall in love. My granddaughter has been married for six years, and I love her husband or wife or whatever you want to call them. When you love your grandchildren, you love everything. So why should we discriminate, any state, against this? Thank you.

[00:21:27]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, thank you for that. Jason, is there a comment that you want to share? Do you want to comment on that?

[00:21:36]Jason Starr:  Well first, I'm sorry to hear that you are having that experience. I can hear the distress in your voice. Now, the Supreme Court actually settled this issue a few years ago when it articulated a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a case called Burgerfeld v Hodges. And so I would look really skeptically at nonrecognition of a marriage in Delaware that was lawfully performed in Florida. So I don't want to give you any legal advice specific to your situation in this forum, but certainly if there are issues that you or others are having with the legal recognition of marriage, certainly you can reach out to the Human Rights Campaign or a sort of local organizations and state that you might be connected to. But just for folks to know out there, marriages that are lawfully performed in any state in this country are going to be recognized in any other state after that Supreme Court decision.

[00:22:48]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Jason. Dr. Bates, next question please.

[00:22:53]Julie Bates:  Our next question comes from Sarah in New York.

[00:22:57]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Welcome Sarah from New York. What's your question?

[00:22:59]Sarah:  Yes, hi. I hope you could help me. My question here is regarding people who are in the LGBTQ community, but who have other disabilities that are not necessarily cared for in health, and that they should have training for people who have more than one issue. Like people who are dyslexic, or people who are autistic, or people who have psychological issues. And I feel that there's no training and no professional knowledge for these individuals who may want to avail themselves of medical help, and they really don't have individuals who are trained to help them.

[00:23:45]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Miss Sarah. I want to take that question to Dr. Blackstock. Dr. Blackstock, can you share a little bit about the state of culturally competent care in the health care profession, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ folks and people with disabilities, so many folks that Miss Sarah from New York mentioned?

[00:24:05]Oni Blackstock:  So I was unable to hear Sarah's full question. Was there more context to it?

[00:24:13]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  So, she was generally asking about culturally competent care in health care. And if you could talk a little bit about sort of the state of play for culturally competent care for LGBTQ folks, for folks living with disabilities, in other traditionally marginalized groups. That was the point that she was raising.

[00:24:37]Oni Blackstock:  OK. Yes, no, this is such a critically important question because we know that when many folks, LGBTQ folks, folks with disabilities, go to seek care, they can often have very traumatizing experiences and be discriminated against. So I think with the awareness of many of the inequities that have been amplified during the COVID pandemic, we have seen an increase in attention to ensuring that health care professionals across the spectrum, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physicians are getting the training that they need.

[00:25:11] So, for instance, I used to work at the New York City Health Department. We have trainings available around LGBTQ health for clinical providers. I know that in medical schools and nursing schools, this is increasingly becoming an area of focus where students and those in training are really learning how to provide care to people who may have different backgrounds from themselves. And then we're seeing a number of, you know, the Fenway Institute and a number of larger organizations, also offer training in LGBTQ health for providers, as well. So there are lots of different ways in which providers can get this training. We need to also make sure that health care institutions are requiring these types of trainings for providers to ensure that everyone is getting both culturally and structurally competent care.

[00:26:05]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Dr. Blackstock. Julie, do we have another caller?

[00:26:11]Julie Bates:  We do. Our next caller is Rob in Arizona.

[00:26:31]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Rob from Arizona. What's your question? Rob from Arizona, are you there?

[00:26:39]Rob:  Yes, I'm here.

[00:26:40]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  What's your question?

[00:26:42]Rob:  The question is for those of us that are HIV-positive, because there was some talk about how effective the vaccines were of immune-challenged persons, is there a test like the antibody test that would be recommended for those of us that are in that category to see whether the vaccines are effective?

[00:27:08]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Dr. Blackstock, can you talk about the efficacy of the vaccine for people living with HIV?

[00:27:15]Oni Blackstock:  So, in general, if someone is living with HIV, but their viral load is suppressed, their T-cell count, so a measure of how strong their immune system is, if that is on the higher side, there's no reason to think that the vaccine shouldn't be equally efficacious or effective in terms of preventing infection with the novel coronavirus. There is some concern when folks who are maybe substantially more immunocompromised in terms of being able to sort of fight off infection, but I think we're not seeing from the clinical trials that were done. For instance, the J & J vaccine was studied in South Africa; it had a large number of people living with HIV, and it appeared to be as equally efficacious in people living with HIV as those who were not living with HIV. So, unless there's some major contraindication or something that your physician has told you, the party line is that we want everyone, including people living with HIV, to get the vaccine. There's no suggestion or indication right now that people should get like a follow-up antibody test to ensure that the vaccine produced an immune response. The assumption is that it probably will.

[00:28:28]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Dr. Blackstock, and thank you for your questions. Now let's turn back to our experts and talk about some of the economic implications. Jason, talk to us a little bit about the economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community.

[00:29:07]Jason Starr:  Sure. You know, I think it's really important to look at how the LGBTQ community writ large sort of came into the pandemic. They're more likely to work in jobs that were ultimately in affected industries like food and building service and retail. Those folks that we termed essential workers, but I think sometimes treated a little more as disposable or discarded workers. LGBTQ folks are less likely to have health coverage and access to culturally competent medical providers in a relationship with a doctor, with a pharmacy that they know and trust. And you know, more likely to have some of the chronic illnesses that we now know contribute to a greater likelihood of complications from COVID-19. And so I think that and a constellation of other factors really came together. And what we've seen coming out of the pandemic is that LGBTQ folks are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed, have cut hours or lowered wages, and compound many of the economic impacts that have led to disparities. And again, based on discrimination, we go back to the conversation about the Equality Act and nondiscrimination protections. Those have real economic impacts over time. So that history of pervasive discrimination, and particularly in employment, leaves LGBTQ workers more vulnerable when crises like the pandemic happen.

[00:30:47]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Jason, I understand the Human Rights Campaign conducted a study and found economic inequities among Black folks, Latinx folks, transgender folks, within and across the LGBTQ community as a result of COVID-19. Can you talk a little bit more squarely about the unique impact on communities of color under the rainbow?

[00:31:15]Jason Starr:  Certainly, I think it's important to disaggregate our communities within communities. First I'll say, our federal government and most state and local governments don't collect comprehensive data on these impacts for LGBTQ people. So sometimes it can really even be difficult to sort of put a fine point on the ways in which the intersection of these identities, or really certain marginalized identities, create really unique impacts. But I think it's important to think about the ways in which COVID-19 affected racial minorities, for example, with Black folks accounting for 22 percent of all COVID deaths. In New York where I live, Latin folks constituting 34 percent of deaths. In New Mexico, 50 percent of deaths were indigenous folks, even though they only make up 11 percent of the population. So you have folks in community who are Black, Latinx, indigenous, right, and experiencing the health impacts both individual and collectively of the pandemic much more significantly than their white counterparts. And then you have LGBTQ folks and communities, and when you bring those two identities together, what we really saw, not only is just a compounding of the disparities across a number of indicators, but I think really unique, traumatic harms.

[00:32:43] It's important to remember that while we're also sort of going through and experiencing the pandemic of COVID-19, we were experiencing a pandemic of racial trauma associated with police violence, contemporaneously. And so, Black LGBTQ folks, Latin LGBTQ folks, indigenous LGBTQ folks, our identities aren't siloed. They come together, and too often, their institutions sort of want us to disaggregate those things. And I think it's really important that we look at the ways in which those identities really create compounding harms across a number of metrics, but also create sort of really unique harms to folks who sit at those intersections.

[00:33:32]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Jason. You really put a finer point on something that my team and I say often around here, no data, no justice. And so thank you for that. I now want to turn to Rodrigo. Rodrigo, what are some of the key challenges and policies affecting transgender older adults, especially as it relates to their health security and their financial resilience?

[00:34:03]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Well, one of the biggest challenges facing transgender older adults is health care access, and this is both about having often been denied fair health care access earlier in life, and some things that are really unique to being older. So the first point about just health care experiences that transgender people face, well, this is an area that's unfortunately rife for discrimination. Again, with the survey that the National Center for Transgender Equality does, we found that one-third of those who saw a health care provider in the last year had a negative experience, purely because they happen to be transgender. So again, that's one-third. One out of 3 people who saw a doctor were verbally harassed, they were refused treatment, or maybe they went in for a broken bone and the doctor said, ‘I don't know what to do with you people. I don't treat people like you,’ even though you're just there for a broken bone. A transgender person's bones are the same as a non-transgender person's bones, right. But to think of being turned away or judged in a moment of need like that is really heartbreaking, and it's scary if you're experiencing a health issue.

[00:35:26] So when we're thinking about transgender older adults, number one, you have this accumulation of a lifetime of not getting the health care that you need. So there's a lot of older trans folks are dealing with health conditions that are worse, that are more advanced than they really needed to be because they had to defer health care for so long, because they couldn't get that health care easily, or they couldn't afford that health care when they were younger when it wasn't as big of a problem.

[00:36:00] And then unique to that life stage of being older is that there's not a lot of research of the effect of a lot of the medications that we take on older adults overtime. So speaking for myself, I'm a transgender man. I take testosterone as a lot of us do. Not all of us, but a lot of us. And there's not enough research out there about what is the effect of a lifetime's worth of testosterone injections? What does that mean when you're in your 50s, 60s, 70s? We know that generally, it is safe to take testosterone, but we need a lot more research to make them more sophisticated, to make sure that we're really doing this right for when we do reach that more advanced stage. And lastly, we need to be able to access other facilities like supported-living facilities or facilities that help you when you experience dementia. All of those facilities need to be able to respect transgender residents and transgender patients, as well. We are a part of society. We're getting older, like anyone else, and these facilities need to be able to treat us with respect just like they would with any other client.

[00:37:15]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for sharing that, Rodrigo, and really thank you for sharing your personal story and for really humanizing the issue. Quickly, are there some resources? What resources in like 20 seconds, can you point folks to, folks that are transgender older adults themselves, or are the loved ones or friends of transgender older adults?

[00:37:38]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Yes, well really quickly, right now there is open enrollment period on health insurance. If you do not have insurance right now, normally you can only opt into it in what's called the marketplace, or you might just hear it shorthand as Obamacare. Normally you can only enroll at certain times of year. Well, right now there's a special period. So if you do not have health insurance, I really urge you to go to out2enroll.org. That's out2enroll.org. That is an LGBT center resource for getting health insurance. It is much more affordable than you might think. So do not let the cost deter you. Check it out. And then also if you're transgender, especially, but also even if you're not, it's really important to document your needs and desires. So think about what kinds of health care directives do you need? You know, if something happens and you lose consciousness, what kind of support do you need or medical care. Document that, write it down and have a friend look it over.

[00:38:41]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Rodrigo. Now I'd like to turn to former Houston Mayor, and no stranger to our AARP tele-town halls, former Mayor Annise Parker. Mayor Parker, what is the Victory Institute doing to prevent an uneven recovery at the local, state and federal level? We know that there's a record number of out elected and appointed elected officials across the country that will play a crucial role in this. What are they doing?

[00:39:17]Annise Parker:  So we have a unique position in that we are not a policy organization. We work through and with LGBTQ elected officials across the country. A great example of the kind of work that's being done on the ground is Robert Garcia, who is the mayor of Long Beach, California. Ninety-nine percent of his seniors over the age of 65 have been vaccinated. And 66 percent of his community has been vaccinated. And the reason that that has happened is that he had culturally competent messaging. He took vaccines into the community, and he worked with the community. The same kinds of techniques are going to be needed in the recovery. This has to be about, not just let's just go back to normal or what was before, but how do we make sure that the PPP money that is still available is reaching the appropriate communities? How do we make sure that small businesses that are owned by [inaudible] communities are receiving those dollars? So what we do is that we make sure that all of the tools, resources and information is distributed among the networks of elected officials across our community.

[00:40:41]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Mayor Parker. Real quick, I want to go back to Rodrigo. You know, the coronavirus pandemic has spotlighted a lack of access to gender-affirming care. How has this historic lack of access influenced sort of the willingness and the ability of folks to access a COVID vaccine?

[00:41:03]Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen:  Well, since so many transgender people have had bad experiences in health care, like I was mentioning before, they don't really know where to go or how to get the vaccine. Even people who want to get the vaccine and are ready for it, thank God, I don't even know where the clinic is because I kind of gave up on trying to access health care. So some of the barriers that transgender people face to get the vaccine are really, really practical. It's about not knowing where to go, not knowing that it's free. A lot of transgender people live in poverty and would not be able to afford it if it costs money, but we really got to get the message out there that it is free, free, free, free, free. There's a lot of misinformation. You do not need insurance. And then we need to have more transportation and expanded hours at these clinics distributing the vaccine. A lot of transgender people have also heard some misinformation that somehow the vaccine was not tested on people who take hormones, and so it's dangerous for trans people. That is a hundred percent false. The vaccine is safe, it is safe for people who are transgender, just like it is safe for people who are not. So if you're at all nervous about getting the vaccine because you've experienced discrimination, I recommend going with a friend. Find someone who you do trust, who can go with you, and they can support you through it. And I guarantee, you'll be in and out in 20 minutes, and it's totally worth it.

[00:42:37]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Rodrigo. Going back to Mayor Parker. Can you share examples — you just talked a little bit about our friend, Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach, California. Can you share any other examples of how out elected and appointed officials are addressing LGBTQ disparities and access to COVID vaccines in any sort of unique way, sort of informed by their own lived experience?

[00:43:09]Annise Parker:  So another great example is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the focus that she's putting on communities of color in Chicago and making sure that as relief dollars come in, as they reopen parts of the community, that it's not distributed equally across the community, but that that rent relief money spent on the hospitality community to make up for lost paychecks, that those are targeted to the communities most in need. And that a lot of the focus right now on rent relief and evictions, which is a huge problem across the country, and again, disproportionately to the LGBTQ community for reasons we've already discussed, that she's taking the lead among other mayors in making sure that there's targeted relief to those communities most in need. It's easy to say, let's go back to the way it was before. We can do better than the way it was before.

[00:44:22]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that, Mayor Parker. You know, two really incredible examples of what an equitable recovery can begin to look like. Another example of advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community is how AARP, AARP Foundation, SAGE and the American Society on Aging, also known as ASA, how they weighed in by filing an amicus brief in the United State Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit arguing in support of LGBTQ surviving couples who were denied Social Security survivor benefits due to a requirement that they must have been married for at least nine months to qualify for survivor benefits. This requirement discriminates against LGBTQ couples who could not marry sooner because of unconstitutional laws banning same-sex marriage. Mayor Parker, given the increased level of advocacy for LGBTQ equality, from your perch, what more can be done?

[00:45:35]Annise Parker:  I'm afraid I didn't hear the question all the way through. My dog was barking in the background. This is the deal of working from home.

[00:45:41]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  No worries. No worries. I'll ask it again. You know, it's the COVID life here. Given the increased level of advocacy for LGBTQ equality across the country, from your perch, pulling from your experience as a former mayor, as a movement builder, as the present CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund Institute, what more can be done to advance equality in our country?

[00:46:11]Annise Parker:  Well, we need to pass the Equality Act because we will continue to have a patchwork of laws, but it's not just about the legal protections available to our community, it's also about winning hearts and minds and making sure that we continue to increase LGBTQ visibility in all aspects of life. I recognize the impact I had as an out public official, and I recognize the work I do now as a movement leader. But the most powerful thing that any of us can do in our lives is being open and honest and out, because that paves the way for the folks who are going to come behind us. And as we have seen over and over again in the last few years, the attacks, particularly on the transgender community coming out of the state legislatures across the country, are targeted precisely because I don't think there's anybody in America who can say legitimately today, they don't know someone who is gay or lesbian, but for many, many people the discussion about who and what it means to be transgender hasn't happened. And it is an unknown. And as long as something is an unknown, people can feel comfortable discriminating against that person. So we have an opportunity to put laws in place, necessary laws that will expand protections, but we have a responsibility to make sure that we continue having these dialogues and speak up. And each of us individually can be a part of that. We don't have to wait for the movement to happen.

[00:47:51]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you for that. Thank you for that friendly reminder. Before we take questions from our members, we want to address an important issue. We know that some of you are still having challenges getting access to the vaccine. AARP wants to help. The AARP Vaccine Finders Support Team is available to try to connect you to community resources, including resources that can transport you to your vaccine appointment or come to your home. So if you're listening today and can't get vaccinated because of transportation, because of mobility or other issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a phone call from AARP staff to assist you. Again, if you are listening today and cannot get a vaccine because of transportation, mobility or other issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a phone call. When you call, you'll listen to a brief message and then be returned to this program.

[00:48:58] Now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and Annise Parker. Julie, who do we have on the line?

[00:49:20]Julie Bates:  All right, our next question comes from Lynn in West Hollywood.

[00:49:25]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Hi, Lynn from West Hollywood. What's your question?

[00:49:29]Lynn:  Hi, great, great topic. Can you hear me?

[00:49:32]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Yes, we can.

[00:49:33]Lynn:  OK. So first I'd like to say that I like the idea where it says we are operating in a patchwork of protections, but you know how it should end, based on color and zip code. And living in LA, I will say this. There is disparity among South LA LGBT and West Hollywood LGBT. During COVID, American Healthcare Foundation, which is a huge foundation, was allotted a clinical trial of one of the vaccines earlier on. And the location of that clinical trial was in West Hollywood. So if you wanted it and you lived in South LA, which is primarily a biopic community, you had to travel all the way to West LA. There was no such clinical trial in the community. So I think there's a misrepresentation that the LGBT community is all-inclusive. There is so much more work that has to be done within our own community. We cannot tell the world to embrace us if we are not embracing all within our own community. I think that's a lot to ask. We have to take care of home first before we do all of this other stuff. And I would just like a comment to that. And I witnessed that myself. It's not a statistic that I'm reading, I saw that for myself, and I was somewhat disheartened. Because if I want movement as an African American, I tend to align myself with those things that are going on, and I get better results. So I'd just like for someone to speak to that.

[00:51:31]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Sure, sure. Thank you, Lynn, and we're going to weave a response to your question into the next question. Dr. Bates?

[00:51:39]Julie Bates:  Oh, and the next question, let's take Elizabeth from Sun City.

[00:51:47]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Elizabeth, you're on. What's your question?

[00:51:51]Elizabeth:  My question is, I thank you so much really for this conversation, but I'm not really sure whether it's the one that I need. Cause you sound like you're talking more about the elderly, and my question is about my grandson who told me about four years ago that he liked guys, but he also said he liked girls, and we didn't have an extensive conversation about that at that time, and we haven't over the next four years.

[00:52:19] So he's 20 now. He was in college, and well the last year he studied at home. Well, what he's done now is he's on probation 'cause he did not do well. He had a job. He only had it for three or four days, and he walked off at lunch and never went back. So I'm wondering, what can I do to help him? His dad doesn't know, and we have other members in the family, but no one else knows as far as I know at this point but me.

[00:52:51]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  I'm going to ask Jason to weigh in real briefly on that question. What support may exist for that young man, that young person in community?

[00:53:09]Jason Starr:  Well, I mean, I'm going to preface this by saying I'm a lawyer and not someone who often finds myself connecting folks. But it's a great question. And I can talk about this from personal experience as a queer young man who grew up in an environment where folks may have wanted to do the right thing, but didn't know how. So I think the first is giving him space to discover and be, and I think that's so true for queer young people, just having a really safe environment to be able to explore your sexual orientation or your gender identity, who you are as a person. And that isn't always the case at work or at school or in certain other places where young people find themselves in community. So what I'm really excited to hear in your question is that at least in one family member, in one person, he's got someone that's going to really create an environment at home where it's safe to explore those identities.

[00:54:25]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Jason. Mayor Parker, was there anything you wanted in response to either one of the questions?

[00:54:34]Annise Parker:  Well, absolutely. We talk about the LGBTQI community, but because we are part of every racial and ethnic group, we have differences, we have divides, we're not all perfect people, and so yes, we have to struggle as a movement and as organizations to make sure that we're sensitive to those community members who are underrepresented and may need particular attention to make sure they are included in trials, in access to COVID relief, and so forth. But to the woman who was just on, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother, and I want to say what a tremendous compliment it is to you that your grandson was able and willing to come out to you when he wasn't to anyone else in the family. There's a lot to unpack in what you asked for. So what you can do for him is to be a strong and supportive ally, because one of the things that strongest preventions of our young people hurting themselves, committing suicide is having someone in the family who was willing to be a resource and someone they can access. So I want to thank you for that. Stay with him. Stay connected with him. Kick his ass and tell him to go to school or get a job, but make sure that you keep the lines of communication open for him as to be able to talk about as him exploring his sexuality.

[00:56:11]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mayor Parker, and I just want to quickly go to Dr. Blackstock in 30 seconds. What tips do you have for initiating conversations about vaccine hesitancy or vaccine delay in a respectful and meaningful way in 30 seconds.

[00:56:33]Oni Blackstock:  Sure, I just want to say, I think it's less hesitancy and more valid and justified concerns, but I would just say it's important to enter the conversation from a place of curiosity and wonder and wanting to understand versus a conversation around judgment and shaming. It's great to ask open-ended questions. You could say, ‘I remember you mentioning XYZ about the vaccine. I'm wondering what your thinking is now. Tell me, what are your worries? What are your concerns?’ And really affirming people for taking whatever measures they've taken so far to stay safe and keep their community safe. And then also, if you want to share information, asking permission first and then sharing information once the person says, ‘OK, I'm willing to hear.’ So those are just some tidbits about how to have a respectful and meaningful conversation around vaccine concerns.

[00:57:22]Nii-Quartelai Quartey:  Thank you, Dr. Blackstock. This has been such a rich and informative discussion. I want to say a big thank you to each of you for answering our questions to Jason, to Rodrigo, to Mayor Parker, and Dr. Blackstock and even Dr. Bates. Thank you all so much. And thank you to our AARP members and volunteers and listeners in communities across the country for participating in this discussion. I want to remind you that AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, and we've been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves.

[00:58:18] All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus on June 25. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates, as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope that you've learned something valuable today, something that can keep you and your loved ones healthy. We want to thank you for joining us. And for the months of July and August, we will pause our COVID tele-town hall programming with plans to resume on Sept. 16. We hope that you'll join us then. Thank you and have a good day. Happy pride, everyone. This concludes our call.

[00:59:13]

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hola. Soy Nii-Quartelai Quartey, asesor sénior de Audiencias Multiculturales de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la igualdad LGBTQ durante la pandemia. Antes de comenzar, si estás escuchando por teléfono y te gustaría escuchar esta teleasamblea en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro ni afiliación política, con membresía, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años. Ante el impacto desproporcionado de la COVID-19 en los adultos mayores LGBTQ, AARP está proporcionando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

 

Esto, junto con los problemas actuales de discriminación que han puesto en peligro la salud y la seguridad financiera de las personas LGBTQ, lo ha convertido en un momento particularmente desafiante. Al mismo tiempo, el Senado está preparado para adoptar la Ley de Igualdad que ampliaría las leyes federales de derechos civiles para brindar protección a las personas LGBTQ en Estados Unidos.

 

Hoy escucharemos a un impresionante panel de expertos hablar sobre estos temas y otros. Y si ya has participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabrás que esto es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio. Y tienes la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

 

Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, presionen * 3 en su teléfono para comunicarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y su pregunta y los colocará en turno para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden publicar su pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Hola, si acabas de unirte, soy Nii-Quartelai Quartey de AARP, y quiero darte la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo tus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3. Y si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, puedes publicar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Hoy nos acompañan unos invitados importantes, incluido un experto médico, y destacados defensores de la Campaña de Derechos Humanos, el Centro Nacional para la Igualdad Transgénero y el Instituto Victory. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, la Dra. Julie Bates, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

 

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrán acceder a la grabación desde www.aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después de que terminemos. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para comunicarte con el personal de AARP. O si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, coloca tu pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Ahora me gustaría darle la bienvenida a nuestros invitados. Jason E. Starr, director de litigios de la Campaña de Derechos Humanos. Bienvenido, Jason.

 

Jason Starr: Gracias.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, director ejecutivo adjunto del Centro Nacional para la Igualdad Transgénero. Bienvenido, Rodrigo.

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Muchas gracias por invitarme.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Y la exalcaldesa de Houston, Annise Parker, quien se desempeña como presidenta y directora ejecutiva del Instituto Victory, una organización sin fines de lucro que capacita a líderes LGBTQ. Bienvenida, alcaldesa Parker.

 

Annise Parker: Me alegro de estar aquí una vez más.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Sí. Este es el número cinco de la suerte. Y tenemos a la Dra. Oni Blackstock, fundadora y directora ejecutiva de Health Justice. Bienvenida, Dra. Blackstock.

 

[inaudible]

 

Muy bien, comencemos con la discusión. Y recuerden, para hacer una pregunta, por favor presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono, o pueden dejarla en la sección de comentarios de Facebook o YouTube. Comencemos con una pregunta para todos nuestros expertos sobre la Ley de Igualdad. Jason, comenzaremos contigo. ¿Puedes contarnos un poco sobre qué es la Ley de Igualdad? ¿Y en qué etapa se encuentra la Ley de Igualdad en el proceso legislativo?

 

Jason Starr: Claro. Nuevamente, muchas gracias por esta amable invitación y por incluir la Campaña de Derechos Humanos. Y hola a todos nuestros amigos de AARP. Me complace estar con ustedes esta noche. La Ley de Igualdad es una pieza histórica y realmente importante de la legislación federal de derechos civiles que brindará protección clara y coherente contra la discriminación hacia las personas LGBTQ en todo el país.

 

Más de 20 estados en este momento carecen de protecciones integrales contra la discriminación por orientación sexual o identidad de género en sus leyes estatales. Y esto significa que en lo relacionado con el empleo, el crédito, la vivienda, la educación, los espacios públicos y los servicios, puedes estar en un estado de nuestro país y tener protecciones realmente completas e integrales, y viajar a un estado vecino y no tener ninguna protección.

 

Y lo mismo puede decirse de las personas dentro de un estado en particular, que van de un condado a otro o de una ciudad a otra. Entonces, realmente, lo que hace la Ley de Igualdad es crear una actualización muy necesaria de nuestras leyes de derechos civiles para que no solo tengamos derechos en todo el país, sino que sepamos cuáles son y sepamos cómo Hacerlos valer en todo el país.

 

La Ley de Igualdad se introdujo por primera vez en el 2015. El Congreso está algo familiarizado con esta legislación. Se presentó en la Cámara de Representantes en el 2019, y recientemente de nuevo en febrero de este año. Como mencionaste al principio de la llamada, Nii, ahora estamos en el Senado, donde muchos otros están trabajando a través de ese organismo.

 

Y realmente, estamos en todo el país, hablando con la gente para que puedan hablar con sus representantes elegidos sobre por qué es muy importante tener protecciones contra la discriminación claras y coherentes y realmente limpiar este mosaico que tenemos en todo el país en este momento.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Jason. Gracias por orientarnos sobre la gran importancia de la Ley de Igualdad y todo lo que incluye. Ahora, quiero hablar con Rodrigo. Rodrigo, ¿qué significará la aprobación de la Ley de Igualdad para los adultos LGBTQ, en particular para los mayores de 50 años y los que forman parte de la comunidad trans?

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: La aprobación de la Ley de Igualdad será un acontecimiento histórico. Como dijo mi colega Jason, en este momento, todos estamos operando bajo este mosaico de protecciones donde podríamos estar protegidos contra la discriminación y tener derechos en un código postal, pero no en otro. Y creo que todos podemos estar de acuerdo en que los derechos no deben depender de su código postal.

 

Pero también, hay otro tipo de mosaico bajo el cual estamos operando, que es un mosaico sobre qué tipo de lugar, qué tipo de interacción está protegida contra la discriminación. Por ejemplo, en este momento, existen protecciones contra la discriminación en el transporte público, si viajas en autobús o tren, pero no si viajas en Lyft o Uber. Eso es absurdo.

 

La Ley de Igualdad también cubriría esas brechas, y esto es particularmente importante porque los espacios públicos son algunas de las áreas donde las personas LGBTQ están más perjudicadas. Donde estoy, el Centro Nacional para la Igualdad Transgénero, llevamos a cabo el estudio más grande y completo de las experiencias de las personas transgénero. Y encontramos que el 31% de las personas transgénero fueron discriminadas en una tienda o un restaurante solo en el último año de la encuesta.

 

Nuevamente, un 31%. Eso es casi una de cada tres personas transgénero a las que se acosa o se les niega el servicio en algún tipo de tienda, restaurante o cine en el último año de la encuesta. Eso realmente demuestra lo mucho que está en juego. Esa es la cantidad de discriminación que enfrentan las personas transgénero. Y la Ley de Igualdad nos daría un recurso, dejaría claro, en términos de blanco y negro, que las empresas no pueden hacernos eso. Y si lo hacen, podríamos proteger nuestros derechos y asegurarnos de luchar contra eso.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Rodrigo. Ahora me gustaría dirigirme a la exalcaldesa de Houston y ahora presidenta del Instituto Victory, Annise Parker. Alcaldesa Parker, ¿puede compartir un poco sus pensamientos? Es una pionera por derecho propio. Ha sido una funcionaria elegida. Es constructora de movimientos. ¿Qué significará la aprobación de la Ley de Igualdad para los adultos LGBTQ, en particular los mayores de 50 años?

 

Annise Parker: Bueno, en primer lugar, déjenme decirles que soy socia de AARP. Haré publicidad. Ciertamente soy mayor, pero vivo en Texas. Vivo en un estado que no tiene protecciones para las personas LGBTQI. Vivo en una ciudad que no tiene protecciones locales, lamentablemente.

 

Pero una de las cosas realmente interesantes que hice hoy fue ayudar a cortar el listón de algo llamado Law Harrington Center. Es un centro de vida independiente afirmativa LGBTQ para adultos mayores. La razón por la que construimos el Law Harrington Center, el centro más grande del país, con 112 unidades, y uno de quizás media docena de centros en Estados Unidos que respaldan a la comunidad LGBTQ, es que muchas de nuestras personas mayores viven en la pobreza, no tienen acceso o tienen poco acceso a viviendas de calidad.

 

Y cuando van a un centro de vida independiente para personas mayores, tienen que volver al armario o no tienen acceso suficiente a la red de apoyo que necesitan para navegar la vida. Estoy orgullosa de este centro y estoy realmente agradecida con todos los que ayudaron a que esto sucediera. Pero la razón por la que tenemos que construir centros como este es porque no tenemos la Ley de Igualdad para asegurarnos de que se nos trate de manera digna y justa en todos los lugares públicos.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias por eso, alcaldesa Parker. Ahora me gustaría dirigirme a la Dra. Blackstock, nuestra médica residente experta en el panel. Dra. Blackstock, mientras discutimos las disparidades existentes, las disparidades de salud en la comunidad LGBTQ, ¿cómo han sido la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores LGBTQ? ¿Cómo ha sido su reto durante la pandemia?

 

Oni Blackstock: Muchas gracias por invitarme a este panel. Sabemos que antes de la pandemia, había importantes desigualdades en la salud, ya que las personas LGBTQ tenían tasas más altas de trastornos crónicos como enfermedades cardíacas, diabetes, cáncer, así como tasas más altas de tabaquismo y consumo de sustancias. Cuando pensamos en salud mental, mayores tasas de depresión, ansiedad y suicidio.

 

Y solo para decir que estas desigualdades no surgen de la nada, muchas son el resultado de sistemas de opresión como la transfobia, la homofobia, el estigma y la discriminación. Sabemos también que antes de la pandemia las personas LGBTQ tenían menos probabilidades de tener acceso a la atención médica, es decir, cobertura médica, tenían más probabilidades de ser discriminadas al acceder a la atención médica y, nuevamente, tenían más probabilidades de vivir en la pobreza.

 

Entonces, cuando llegó la pandemia, básicamente agravó y amplificó todo. Vimos un empeoramiento de los desafíos en el acceso a la atención. Sabemos que muchas personas LGBTQ trabajaron en industrias como la de la hospitalidad, el cuidado de niños, que fueron las más afectadas por la pandemia y, por lo tanto, perdieron sus trabajos como resultado.

 

Sabemos que a menudo cuando las personas pierden su trabajo en Estados Unidos, luego pierden su seguro médico. Además, si tienen seguro médico, seguirán teniendo problemas para pagar la atención, es decir, cubrir los copagos y otros costos médicos. Sabemos que, por ejemplo, Trans Lifeline, la línea directa de crisis, recibió muchas más llamadas de personas que no podían acceder a la atención durante la pandemia.

 

Y luego, cuando se trata de salud mental, sabemos que con el distanciamiento social hubo mayores tasas de aislamiento social, depresión. En una encuesta que realizó la Kaiser Family Foundation, se encontró que los encuestados LGBTQ tenían más probabilidades de reportar preocupación y estrés relacionados con la pandemia, y que el estrés era grave.

 

Y luego también sabemos eso porque, nuevamente, las industrias en las que las personas LGBTQ tienden a trabajar, estábamos más expuestos a la COVID-19. Todos estos factores realmente han magnificado y amplificado el impacto en las comunidades LGBTQ y también han impactado la salud y el bienestar de nuestra comunidad.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Y nuevamente, en lo que respecta a la salud y el bienestar, Dra. Blackstock, ¿puede compartir algún consejo que pueda ayudarnos a apoyar la salud mental entre nuestros amigos y seres queridos? Usted y yo hemos compartido paneles antes y hemos hablado un poco sobre nuestra salud y bienestar desde el cuello hacia arriba y el cuello hacia abajo. ¿Puede compartir un poco sobre el apoyo a nuestros amigos y seres queridos en el frente de la salud mental?

 

Oni Blackstock: Sí, esta es una pregunta muy importante porque estamos lidiando con el trauma individual y colectivo de la pandemia. Algo tan simple como solo compartir tus observaciones con un miembro de la familia, amigo o colega que notes que tal vez esté sufriendo, diciendo algo como: "He notado que te ves diferente últimamente. ¿Está todo bien? Me preocupa escucharte hablar de esta manera. Déjame ver, ¿puedo ayudarte?"

 

Y luego ofreciéndole apoyo, "¿Cuál es la mejor forma de brindarle apoyo en este momento? ¿Hay algo que pueda hacer? ¿Hay una cita que pueda ayudarte a hacer? ¿Alguna tarea? ¿Hay tareas que necesites hacer con las que yo pueda ayudarte hasta que te sientas mejor? ¿Te gustaría que vaya a un grupo de apoyo contigo? ¿Necesitas que te lleve a tus citas?"

 

Y luego simplemente, comunicarse regularmente, llamando o enviando mensajes de texto a miembros de la familia o amigos que nos preocupan. Y luego, obviamente, si las cosas parecen muy preocupantes, obviamente comunícate con el 911 o alguien para recibir atención médica o psiquiátrica de emergencia.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Dra. Blackstock. Ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre la Ley de Igualdad LGBTQ y el coronavirus con la Dra. Oni Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen y Annise Parker. Presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para comunicarse con el personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta. Y si desean escuchar en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, la Dra. Julie Bates, para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenida, Julie.

 

Julie Bates: Muchas gracias, Dr. Quartey. Estoy feliz de estar aquí para esta conversación. Tenemos muchas, muchas preguntas de nuestros miembros que están al teléfono, en Facebook y en YouTube. La primera pregunta es de Christopher en Ohio. ¿Christopher?

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hola, Christopher.

 

Christopher: Sí, hola. ¿Cómo estás?

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Bien. Por favor, haz tu pregunta.

 

Christopher: Está bien. La pregunta, básicamente, trata sobre la pandemia y cómo nuestra comunidad, la comunidad LGBTQ, está respondiendo a la enfermedad y cuántos de nosotros han sido vacunados.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Dra. Blackstock, ¿puede compartir algunos números? Números de investigación que sugieran qué tan bien le está yendo a la comunidad LGBTQ en términos de vacunaciones en todo el país. ¿Alguna tendencia?

 

Oni Blackstock: Con gusto hablaré sobre este tema. El desafío ha sido realmente la falta de recopilación sistemática de estos datos. Hay algunos estados que están comenzando a hacerlo en términos de recopilación de datos sobre orientación sexual e identidad de género. Pero la mayoría de los estados en realidad no recopilan estos datos de manera rutinaria cuando las personas van a vacunarse.

 

Existe el problema de cuando dices "sin datos, no hay problema", no sabemos hasta qué punto puede haber desigualdades entre la comunidad LGBTQ y la población general y las tasas de vacunación. Se han realizado varias encuestas en las que no parece que las personas LGBTQ tengan menos probabilidades de recibir la vacuna. Parecen igualmente probables. Aunque, cuando observamos, por ejemplo, a las personas negras, indígenas y otras personas de color que son LGBTQ, parece haber menos voluntad de vacunarse.

 

Y hemos escuchado mucho sobre por qué ese podría ser el caso, impulsado por experiencias con el sistema de salud y en la sociedad en general. Estamos tratando de controlar eso. Se acaba de formar una colaboración de investigación que incluye varios centros de salud LGBTQ con calificación federal que están tratando de averiguar cuál es el impacto de la COVID-19 en las personas LGBTQ, así como la vacunación. Pero el desafío es que necesitamos la recopilación rutinaria de estos datos para que podamos tener una imagen muy clara de si existen desigualdades o no.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Dra. Blackstock. Dra. Bates, próxima pregunta, por favor.

 

Julie Bates: Muy bien, voy a compartir una pregunta de nuestros oyentes de Facebook. Y esta pregunta es... te la leeré. "Me identifico como no binario. ¿El Gobierno o ciertos departamentos gubernamentales reconocen una designación de género neutro? ¿Es esto algo que posiblemente cambie con la Ley de Igualdad?"

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Rodrigo, me gustaría invitarte a responder a esa pregunta, ya que el Centro Nacional para la Igualdad Transgénero es una voz líder en este trabajo.

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Por supuesto. Esta es una excelente pregunta. Gracias por hacerla. La buena noticia es que un número cada vez mayor de entidades gubernamentales están reconociendo marcar el género X. Para cualquier otra persona que esté escuchando y que no esté al tanto, no binario básicamente significa no identificarse ni como hombre ni como mujer.

 

Y eso es una realidad para muchos de nosotros. Entonces, necesitamos una opción de marca de género X en nuestros documentos de identidad, alguna alternativa a una M o una F. Para responder a la pregunta, más de una docena de estados han implementado la marca de género X, lo cual es realmente emocionante.

 

Si estuviéramos haciendo esta llamada hace unos años, el número habría sido cero. Entonces, estamos viviendo un progreso realmente rápido. Tener más de una docena de estados que usan el marcador de género X en los registros estatales es fantástico. Obviamente, tenemos que elevar eso para que sean los 50 estados y territorios.

 

Y luego, también tenemos que hacer que esto suceda a nivel federal. Porque incluso si vives en uno de estos estados con el marcador de género X, eso solo se aplica a sus documentos estatales, cosas como la licencia de conducir. Pero no se aplica a, por ejemplo, un pasaporte. Tenemos que arreglar eso. Tenemos que hacerlo universal.

 

En NCTE, estamos trabajando con la Administración de Biden para que esto suceda. De hecho, tenemos una reunión con el Departamento de Estado para comenzar a agregar esta opción de la marca de género X en los registros federales. Sin embargo, es un proceso lento y constante. Entonces, realmente los animo a escribir a sus funcionarios electos tanto a nivel estatal como federal. Háganles saber que esto es algo que les importa para que comprendan lo importante que es.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias por eso, Rodrigo. Dra. Bates, próxima pregunta, por favor.

 

Julie Bates: Maravilloso. Tengo a Janice en Wilmington. Janice, haz tu pregunta a nuestros expertos.

 

Janice: Quiero saber, mi nieta se casó en Florida con una niña afroamericana. En el estado de Delaware, no lo reconocemos. Los gays se enamoran. Mi nieta ha estado casada seis años y amo a su esposo o esposa o como quieras llamarlos. Cuando amas a tus nietos, amas todo. Entonces, ¿por qué deberíamos discriminar esto en cualquier estado? Gracias.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias. Gracias por eso. Jason, ¿hay algún comentario que quieras compartir? ¿Quieres comentar sobre eso?

 

Jason Starr: Primero, lamento saber que estás teniendo esa experiencia. Puedo escuchar la angustia en tu voz. Ahora, la Corte Suprema resolvió este asunto hace unos años cuando articuló un derecho constitucional federal al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en un caso llamado Obergefell v. Hodges. Miraría realmente con escepticismo el no reconocimiento de un matrimonio en Delaware que se celebró legalmente en Florida.

 

No quiero darle ningún consejo legal específico a su situación en este foro, pero ciertamente, si hay problemas que usted u otras personas están teniendo con el reconocimiento legal del matrimonio, sin duda, puede comunicarse con la Campaña de Derechos Humanos u organizaciones locales y el estado con el que podría estar conectado. Pero solo para que la gente sepa, los matrimonios que se realizan legalmente en cualquier estado de este país serán reconocidos en cualquier otro estado después de la decisión de la Corte Suprema.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Jason. Dra. Bates, próxima pregunta, por favor.

 

Julie Bates: Nuestra siguiente pregunta viene de Sarah en Nueva York.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Bienvenida, Sarah de Nueva York. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

 

Sarah: Sí, hola. Espero que puedan ayudarme. Mi pregunta es con respecto a las personas que están en la comunidad LGBTQ pero que tienen otras discapacidades que no necesariamente reciben atención en cuestiones de salud, y que deberían haber capacitaciones para personas que tienen más de un problema, como personas disléxicas o personas autistas o personas que tienen problemas psicológicos. Y creo que no hay capacitación ni conocimiento profesional para estas personas que pueden querer hacer uso de la ayuda médica y realmente no tienen personas capacitadas para ayudarlos.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Sra. Sarah. Quiero llevarle esa pregunta a la Dra. Blackstock. Dra. Blackstock, ¿puede compartir un poco sobre el estado de la atención culturalmente competente en la profesión de la salud, particularmente cuando se trata de personas LGBTQ y personas con discapacidades, tantas personas como la Sra. Sarah de Nueva York menciona?

 

Oni Blackstock: No pude escuchar la pregunta completa de Sarah. ¿Tenía más contexto?

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: En general, preguntaba sobre la atención de la salud culturalmente competente. Y si pudiera hablar un poco sobre la situación de la atención culturalmente competente para las personas LGBTQ, para las personas que viven con discapacidades y otros grupos tradicionalmente marginados, ese era el punto que estaba planteando.

 

Oni Blackstock: Bueno, sí. Esta es una pregunta de suma importancia porque sabemos que cuando muchas personas, personas LGBTQ, personas con discapacidades, van a buscar atención, a menudo pueden vivir experiencias muy traumatizantes y ser discriminadas. Creo que con la conciencia de muchas de las desigualdades que se han amplificado durante la pandemia de COVID-19, hemos visto un aumento en la atención para garantizar que los profesionales de la salud de todo el espectro, enfermeras, enfermeras practicantes, asistentes médicos, médicos, reciban la capacitación necesaria.

 

Por ejemplo, solía trabajar en el Departamento de Salud de la ciudad de Nueva York. Tuvimos capacitaciones disponibles sobre la salud LGBTQ para proveedores clínicos. Sé que en las facultades de medicina y enfermería, esto se está convirtiendo cada vez más en un área de enfoque en la que los estudiantes y los que están en formación, realmente están aprendiendo cómo brindar atención a personas que pueden tener antecedentes diferentes a los de ellos.

 

El Instituto Fenway y varias organizaciones más grandes ofrecen capacitación en salud LGBTQ para proveedores también. Hay muchas formas diferentes en las que los proveedores pueden recibir esta capacitación. También debemos asegurarnos de que las instituciones de atención médica requieran este tipo de capacitaciones para los proveedores a fin de garantizar que todos reciban una atención tanto cultural como estructuralmente competente.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Dra. Blackstock. Julie, ¿tenemos otra llamada?

 

Julie Bates: Así es. Y quiero recordarles a todos, si desean poder hacer una pregunta en vivo a nuestros expertos, recuerden presionar * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono, y serán conectados con uno de los equipos de AARP para que quizás podamos responder su pregunta. Nuestro próximo oyente es Robb, de Arizona.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Robb de Arizona, ¿cuál es tu pregunta? Robb de Arizona, ¿estás ahí?

 

Rob: Sí, estoy aquí.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

 

Rob: La pregunta es, para aquellos de nosotros que somos VIH positivos, porque se habló de cuán efectivas fueron las vacunas en personas inmunodeprimidas, ¿existe una prueba, como la prueba de anticuerpos, que se recomendaría para aquellos de nosotros que estamos en esa categoría, para ver si las vacunas son efectivas?

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Dra. Blackstock, ¿puede hablar sobre la eficacia de la vacuna para las personas que viven con el VIH?

 

Oni Blackstock: En general, si alguien vive con el VIH pero su carga viral está suprimida, si su recuento de células T, una medida de cuán fuerte es su sistema inmunitario, si es alto, no hay razón para pensar que la vacuna no sea igualmente eficaz o eficaz en términos de prevenir la infección con el nuevo coronavirus.

 

Existe cierta preocupación con las personas que tal vez estén sustancialmente más inmunodeprimidas en términos de poder luchar contra la infección. Pero creo que no estamos viendo en los ensayos clínicos que se realizaron... Por ejemplo, la vacuna J&J se estudió en Sudáfrica. Tenía un gran número de personas que vivían con el VIH y parecía ser tan eficaz en las personas que vivían con el VIH como en las que no vivían con el VIH.

 

A menos que exista alguna contraindicación importante o algo que su médico le haya dicho, el principio es que queremos que todos, incluidas las personas que viven con el VIH, se vacunen. No hay ninguna sugerencia o indicación de que las personas deban hacerse una prueba de anticuerpos de seguimiento para asegurarse de que la vacuna haya producido una respuesta inmunitaria. La suposición es que probablemente lo hará.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Dra. Blackstock. Y gracias por sus preguntas. Recuerda, si deseas hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3. Si deseas escuchar en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Ahora volvamos a nuestros expertos y hablemos de algunas de las implicaciones económicas. Jason, háblanos un poco sobre el impacto económico de la COVID-19 en la comunidad LGBTQ.

 

Jason Starr: Claro. Creo que es realmente importante observar cómo la comunidad LGBTQ en general encaja en la pandemia, es más probable que tengan trabajos que, en última instancia, estaban en industrias afectadas, como servicios de alimentos, construcción y venta minorista, esas personas a las que llamamos trabajadores esenciales, pero, creo, a veces son tratados un poco más como trabajadores desechables o descartables.

 

Las personas LGBTQ tenían menos probabilidades de tener cobertura médica y acceso a proveedores médicos culturalmente competentes y una relación con un médico, con una farmacia que conocen y en la que confíen. Y es más probable que tengan algunas de las enfermedades crónicas que ahora sabemos que contribuyen a una mayor probabilidad de complicaciones por la COVID-19.

 

Y entonces, creo que eso y una constelación de otros factores realmente se unieron. Y lo que hemos visto como resultado de la pandemia es que las personas LGBTQ tienen más probabilidades de estar desempleadas o subempleadas, han reducido las horas o han bajado los salarios, y agravan muchos de los impactos económicos que han llevado a disparidades, y nuevamente, basado en la discriminación.

 

Volvemos a la conversación sobre la Ley de Igualdad y las protecciones contra la discriminación, que tienen impactos económicos reales a lo largo del tiempo, por lo que el historial de discriminación generalizada, particularmente en el empleo, deja a los trabajadores LGBTQ más vulnerables cuando ocurren crisis como la pandemia.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Jason, tengo entendido que la Campaña de Derechos Humanos realizó un estudio y encontró desigualdades económicas entre las personas negras, las latinas y las transgénero dentro y en toda la comunidad LGBTQ como resultado de la COVID-19. ¿Puedes hablar un poco más directamente sobre el impacto único en las comunidades de color dentro del arcoíris?

 

Jason Starr: Ciertamente. Creo que es importante desglosar nuestra comunidad dentro de las comunidades. Primero, diré que nuestro Gobierno federal y la mayoría de los Gobiernos estatales y locales no recopilan datos completos sobre estos impactos para las personas LGBTQ.

 

A veces, incluso puede ser realmente difícil precisar las formas en que la intersección de estas identidades, o realmente, ciertas identidades marginadas, crean impactos realmente únicos. Pero creo que es importante pensar en las formas en que la COVID-19 afectó a las minorías raciales, por ejemplo, y los afroamericanos representan el 22% de todas las muertes por COVID-19.

 

En Nueva York, donde vivo, los latinos constituyen el 34% de las muertes. En Nuevo México, el 50% de las muertes fueron de indígenas, aunque solo representan el 11% de la población. Hay personas en la comunidad que son negras, latinas, indígenas y que experimentan los impactos de la pandemia en la salud, tanto individuales como colectivos, de manera mucho más significativa que sus contrapartes blancas.

 

Y luego tienes personas LGBTQ en las comunidades, y cuando unes esas dos identidades, lo que realmente vimos no fue solo una combinación de las disparidades en una serie de indicadores, sino que creo que hay daños traumáticos realmente únicos. Es importante recordar que aunque también atravesábamos y experimentamos la pandemia de COVID-19, estábamos experimentando una pandemia de trauma racial asociado con la violencia policial contemporáneamente. Y entonces, no...

 

Gente negra LGBTQ, gente latina LGBTQ, gente indígena LGBTQ, esas identidades no son aisladas, vienen juntas. Y con demasiada frecuencia, las instituciones quieren que separemos esas cosas. Y creo que es realmente importante que observemos las formas en que esas identidades realmente crean daños agravados en una serie de métricas, pero también crean daños realmente únicos para las personas que se encuentran en esas intersecciones.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Jason. Realmente lograste precisar algo que mi equipo y yo decimos a menudo por aquí, "sin datos, no hay justicia". Gracias por eso. Ahora quiero volverme hacia Rodrigo. Rodrigo, ¿cuáles son algunos de los desafíos y políticas clave que afectan a los adultos mayores transgénero, especialmente en lo que se refiere a la seguridad de su salud y su capacidad de recuperación financiera?

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Bueno, uno de los mayores desafíos que enfrentan los adultos mayores transgénero es el acceso a la atención médica. Y esto se trata tanto de que a menudo se le haya negado el acceso justo a la atención médica en una etapa anterior de la vida, y de algunas cosas que son realmente exclusivas de ser mayor.

 

Primero, el primer punto sobre las experiencias de atención médica que enfrentan las personas transgénero, bueno, esta es un área en la que desafortunadamente abunda la discriminación. Nuevamente, con la encuesta que hace el Centro Nacional para la Igualdad Transgénero, encontramos que un tercio de los que vieron a un proveedor de atención médica en el último año tuvieron una experiencia negativa simplemente porque eran transgénero.

 

Una vez más, eso es un tercio, una de cada tres personas que vieron a un médico fueron acosadas verbalmente, se les negó el tratamiento, o tal vez ingresaron por una fractura, y el médico dijo: "No sé qué hacer con ustedes. No trato a personas como ustedes", aunque solo estén allí por una fractura de huesos.

 

Los huesos de una persona transgénero son los mismos que los de una persona no transgénero, ¿verdad? Pero pensar en ser rechazado o juzgado en un momento de necesidad como ese es realmente desgarrador y da miedo si uno está experimentando un problema de salud.

 

Cuando pensamos en adultos mayores transgénero, número uno, tienes esta acumulación de toda la vida de no recibir la atención médica que necesitas. Entonces, muchas personas trans mayores están lidiando con enfermedades graves, que están más avanzadas de lo que realmente debían estar porque tuvieron que posponer la atención médica durante tanto tiempo, porque no podían obtener esa atención médica fácilmente, o no podían pagar esa atención médica cuando eran más jóvenes y no era un problema tan grande.

 

Y luego, lo único de esa etapa de la vida de ser mayor es que no hay mucha investigación sobre el efecto de muchos de los medicamentos que tomamos en los adultos mayores a lo largo del tiempo. Hablando por mí mismo, soy un hombre transgénero. Tomo testosterona, como muchos de nosotros, no todos, pero sí muchos.

 

Y no hay suficiente investigación sobre "¿cuál es el efecto de las inyecciones de testosterona durante toda una vida? ¿Qué significará eso cuando tengas 50, 60 o 70 años?" Sabemos que, en general, es seguro tomar testosterona, pero necesitamos mucha más investigación para hacerlo más sofisticado, para asegurarnos de que realmente estamos haciendo las cosas bien para cuando alcancemos esa edad más avanzada.

 

Y, por último, necesitamos poder acceder a otras instalaciones, como centros de vida asistida o centros que ayuden cuando uno experimenta demencia. Todas esas instalaciones deben poder respetar a los residentes transgénero y a los pacientes transgénero también. Somos parte de la sociedad. Estamos envejeciendo como cualquier otra persona. Y estas instalaciones deben tratarnos con respeto como lo harían con cualquier otro cliente.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias por compartir eso, Rodrigo. Y realmente, gracias por compartir tu historia personal y por realmente humanizar el tema. Rápido, ¿hay algunos recursos? ¿Qué recursos puedes mencionar en 20 segundos para las personas, que son adultos mayores transgénero o son los seres queridos o amigos de los adultos mayores transgénero?

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Sí. Muy rápidamente, en este momento, hay un período de inscripción abierto en el seguro médico. Si no tienes seguro en este momento, normalmente solo puede optar por lo que se llama el mercado, o puedes escucharlo como Obamacare, normalmente, solo puedes inscribirte en ciertas épocas del año.

 

Ahora mismo, hay un período especial. Si no tienen seguro médico, realmente les insto a que visiten www.out2enroll.org, eso es www.out2enroll.org. Ese es un recurso del Centro LGBT para obtener seguro médico. Es mucho más asequible de lo que piensas. No dejes que el costo te detenga. Échale un vistazo.

 

Y luego, también, si eres transgénero especialmente, pero también, incluso si no lo eres, es realmente importante documentar tus necesidades y deseos. Piensa en qué tipo de directivas de atención médica necesitas. Si pasa algo y pierdes el conocimiento, ¿qué tipo de apoyo o atención médica necesitarías? Documenta eso. Escríbelo. Y pídele a un amigo que lo revise.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Rodrigo. Ahora me gustaría dirigirme a la exalcaldesa de Houston, y no ajena a nuestras teleasambleas de AARP, la alcaldesa Annise Parker. Alcaldesa Parker, ¿qué está haciendo el Instituto Victory para evitar una recuperación desigual a nivel local, estatal y federal? Sabemos que hay un número récord de funcionarios electos, elegidos y designados en todo el país que desempeñarán un papel crucial en esto. ¿Qué están haciendo?

 

Annise Parker: Tenemos una posición única en el sentido de que no somos una organización de políticas. Trabajamos a través y con los funcionarios electos LGBTQ en todo el país. Un gran ejemplo del tipo de trabajo que se está haciendo sobre el terreno es Robert García, alcalde de Long Beach, California. El 99% de las personas mayores de 65 años han sido vacunadas. Y el 66% de su comunidad se ha vacunado.

 

Y la razón por la que eso ha sucedido es que tenía mensajes culturalmente competentes, llevó las vacunas a la comunidad y trabajó con la comunidad. Se necesitarán los mismos tipos de técnicas en la recuperación. Esto no tiene que ver solo con "volvamos a la normalidad, o lo que era antes", sino "¿cómo nos aseguramos que el dinero destinado a la compra de PPP que todavía está disponible llegue a las comunidades adecuadas?

 

¿Cómo nos aseguramos de que las pequeñas empresas que son propiedad de las comunidades BIPOC están recibiendo esos dólares?" Entonces, lo que hacemos es asegurarnos de que todas las herramientas, recursos e información se distribuyan entre las redes de funcionarios electos de nuestra comunidad.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, alcaldesa Parker. Muy rápido, quiero volver a Rodrigo. La pandemia de coronavirus ha puesto de relieve la falta de acceso a la atención que reafirma el género. ¿Cómo ha influido esta histórica falta de acceso en la voluntad y la capacidad de las personas para acceder a una vacuna contra la COVID-19?

 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen: Bueno, dado que tantas personas transgénero han tenido malas experiencias en el cuidado de la salud, como mencioné antes, realmente no saben a dónde ir o cómo vacunarse. Incluso las personas que quieren vacunarse y están preparadas para ello piensan: "Dios, ni siquiera sé dónde está la clínica porque dejé de intentar acceder a la atención médica".

 

Algunas de las barreras que enfrentan las personas transgénero para recibir la vacuna son realmente prácticas. Se trata de no saber a dónde ir, de no saber que es gratis. Muchas personas transgénero viven en la pobreza y no podrían pagarlo si costara dinero. Pero, realmente tenemos que difundir el mensaje de que es gratis, gratis, gratis, gratis. Hay mucha desinformación.

 

No necesitas seguro. Y luego necesitamos tener más transporte y horarios más amplios en estas clínicas que distribuyen la vacuna. Muchas personas transgénero también han escuchado información errónea de que, de alguna manera, la vacuna no se probó en personas que toman hormonas, por lo que es peligrosa para las personas trans. Eso es 100% falso. La vacuna es segura.

 

Es segura para las personas transgénero al igual que lo es para las personas que no lo son. Si estás algo nervioso por recibir la vacuna porque has experimentado discriminación, te recomiendo ir con un amigo. Encuentra a alguien en quien confíes que pueda acompañarte y que pueda ayudarte a hacerlo. Y te garantizo que entrarás y saldrás en 20 minutos, y vale la pena.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias por eso, Rodrigo. Volviendo la alcaldesa Parker, ¿puede compartir ejemplos? Acaba de hablar un poco sobre nuestro amigo Robert García, el alcalde de Long Beach, California. ¿Puede compartir otros ejemplos de cómo los funcionarios electos y designados están abordando las disparidades LGBTQ y el acceso a las vacunas contra la COVID-19 de alguna manera única, informada por su propia experiencia vivida?

 

Annise Parker: Otro gran ejemplo es la alcaldesa de Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, y el enfoque que está poniendo en las comunidades de color en Chicago y se asegura de que, a medida que ingresen los dólares de ayuda, a medida que reabren partes de la comunidad, que no se distribuya de manera equitativa en la comunidad, sino que esos dólares de ayuda, ayuda de alquiler, dinero gastado en la comunidad hotelera para compensar los cheques de pago perdidos, que estén destinados a las comunidades más necesitadas.

 

Y gran parte del enfoque en este momento en el alivio de la renta y los desalojos, que es un gran problema en todo el país, y nuevamente, de manera desproporcionada para la comunidad LGBTQ por razones que ya hemos discutido. Ella está tomando la delantera, entre otros alcaldes, al asegurarse de que haya ayuda dirigida a las comunidades más necesitadas. Es fácil decir: "Volvamos a la forma en que era antes". Podemos hacerlo mejor que antes.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, alcaldesa Parker, dos ejemplos realmente increíbles de cómo puede comenzar a verse una recuperación equitativa. Otro ejemplo de defensa en nombre de la comunidad LGBTQ es cómo AARP, AARP Foundation, SAGE y la Sociedad Americana sobre el Envejecimiento, también conocida como ASA, intervinieron al presentar un escrito amicus en el Tribunal de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Noveno Circuito, argumentando a favor de las parejas sobrevivientes LGBTQ a quienes se les negaron los beneficios de sobreviviente del Seguro Social debido al requisito de que debían haber estado casados ​​durante al menos nueve meses para calificar para los beneficios de sobreviviente.

 

Este requisito discrimina a las parejas LGBTQ que no pudieron casarse antes debido a leyes inconstitucionales que prohíben el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo. Alcaldesa Parker, dado el aumento del nivel de promoción de la igualdad LGBTQ, desde su posición, ¿qué más se puede hacer?

 

Annise Parker: Me temo que no escuché toda la pregunta. Mi perro ladraba en el fondo. Esto es trabajar desde casa. Lo siento mucho.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: No se preocupe. No hay problema. No hay problema. Lo preguntaré de nuevo. Es la vida con la COVID-19. Dado el aumento del nivel de promoción de la igualdad LGBTQ en todo el país, desde su posición privilegiada, aprovechando su experiencia como alcaldesa, como constructora de movimientos, como presidenta y directora ejecutiva del Instituto Victory Fund LGBTQ, ¿qué más se puede hacer para avanzar la igualdad en nuestro país?

 

Annise Parker: Bueno, tenemos que aprobar la Ley de Igualdad porque seguiremos teniendo un mosaico de leyes. Pero no se trata solo de las protecciones legales disponibles para nuestra comunidad. También se trata de ganar corazones y mentes y asegurarnos de que continuemos aumentando la visibilidad LGBTQ en todos los aspectos de la vida.

 

Reconozco el impacto que tuve como funcionaria pública y reconozco el trabajo que hago como líder del movimiento. Pero lo más poderoso que cualquiera de nosotros puede hacer en nuestra vida es ser abiertos y honestos porque eso allana el camino para las personas que vendrán detrás de nosotros. Y como hemos visto una y otra vez en los últimos años, los ataques, particularmente a la comunidad transgénero que salen de las legislaturas estatales en todo el país, están dirigidos precisamente porque no creo que haya nadie en Estados Unidos que pueda decir legítimamente hoy que no conocen a nadie que sea gay o lesbiana.

 

Pero para muchas, muchas personas, la discusión sobre quién y qué significa ser transgénero no ha sucedido. Y es algo desconocido. Y mientras algo sea desconocido, las personas pueden sentirse cómodas discriminando a esa persona. Tenemos la oportunidad de implementar leyes, leyes necesarias, que ampliarán la protección. Pero tenemos la responsabilidad de asegurarnos de que sigamos teniendo estos diálogos y hablemos. Y cada uno de nosotros individualmente puede ser parte de eso. No tenemos que esperar a que suceda el movimiento.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias. Gracias por ese amistoso recordatorio. Antes de responder las preguntas de nuestros socios, queremos abordar un tema importante. Sabemos que algunos de ustedes todavía tienen dificultades para acceder a la vacuna. AARP quiere ayudar. El equipo de apoyo de AARP Vaccine Finders está disponible para tratar de conectarte con los recursos de la comunidad, incluidos los recursos que pueden transportarte a tu cita de vacunación o ir a tu hogar.

 

Por lo tanto, si estás escuchando hoy y no puedes vacunarte debido al transporte, por movilidad u otros problemas, presiona 1 para que te agreguen a una lista y recibas una llamada telefónica del personal de AARP para ayudarte. Nuevamente, si estás escuchando hoy y no puedes recibir una vacuna debido a problemas de transporte, movilidad u otros problemas, presiona 1 para que te agreguen a una lista para recibir una llamada telefónica.

 

Cuando llames, escucharás un breve mensaje y luego volverás a este programa. Ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con la Dra. Blackstock, Jason E. Starr, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen y Annise Parker. Presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte con el personal de AARP. Julie, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

 

Julie Bates: Muy bien, nuestra siguiente pregunta viene de Lynn en West Hollywood.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Hola, Lynn de West Hollywood. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

 

Lynn: Hola. Muy buen tema. ¿Puedes escucharme?

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Sí, podemos.

 

Lynn: Muy bien, primero, me gustaría decir que me gusta la idea de que es como si estuviéramos operando en un mosaico de protección. ¿Pero saben cómo debería terminar? Según el color y el código postal. Y al vivir en Los Ángeles, diré esto, existe una disparidad entre el South Los Ángeles LGBT y West Hollywood LGBT.

 

Durante la COVID-19, la American Healthcare Foundation, que es una gran fundación, recibió anteriormente un ensayo clínico de una de las vacunas. Y la ubicación de ese ensayo clínico fue en West Hollywood. Si lo querías y vivías en el sur de Los Ángeles, que es principalmente una comunidad “biópica”, tenías que viajar hasta el oeste de Los Ángeles.

 

No hubo tal ensayo clínico en la comunidad. Creo que hay una tergiversación. Existe una tergiversación de que la comunidad LGBT es inclusiva. Hay mucho más trabajo por hacer dentro de nuestra propia comunidad. No podemos decirle al mundo que nos acepte si no estamos aceptando a todos dentro de nuestra propia comunidad. Creo que es mucho pedir.

 

Primero tenemos que ocuparnos de la casa antes de hacer todas estas otras cosas. Y solo agregaría un comentario a eso. Y yo misma fui testigo de eso. No es una estadística que estoy leyendo. Lo vi yo misma. Y estaba algo desanimada porque si quiero un movimiento como el afroamericano, tiendo a alinearme con las cosas que están sucediendo y obtengo mejores resultados. Me gustaría que alguien hablara de eso.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Claro, claro. Gracias, Lynn. Y vamos a intercalar una respuesta a su pregunta en la siguiente pregunta. ¿Dra. Bates?

 

Julie Bates: Oh, la siguiente pregunta, tomemos a Elizabeth de Sun City.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Elizabeth, estás al aire. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

 

Elizabeth: Mi pregunta es... Realmente, muchas gracias por esta conversación. Pero no estoy muy segura de si es la que necesito, porque parece que estás hablando más de los ancianos. Y mi pregunta es sobre mi nieto que me dijo hace unos cuatro años que le gustaban los chicos. Pero también dijo que le gustaban las chicas. Y no tuvimos una conversación extensa sobre eso en ese momento, ni la hemos tenido en los siguientes cuatro años. Tiene 20 ahora.

 

Estaba en la universidad y... bueno, el año pasado estudió en casa. Bueno, lo que ha hecho ahora es que estuvo en libertad condicional porque no le fue bien. Tenía un trabajo. Solo lo tuvo por tres o cuatro días y se fue a la hora del almuerzo y nunca regresó. Entonces, me pregunto, ¿qué puedo hacer para ayudarlo? Su papá no lo sabe. Y tenemos otros miembros en la familia. Bueno, hasta donde yo sé, nadie más lo sabe en este momento, excepto yo.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Mm-hmm. Le voy a pedir a Jason que reflexione brevemente sobre esa pregunta. ¿Qué apoyo puede existir para ese joven en la comunidad?

 

Jason Starr: Bueno, voy a comenzar por decir que soy abogado y no alguien que a menudo se encuentre conectando gente. Pero es una buena pregunta. Y puedo hablar de esto por experiencia personal como un joven queer que creció en un ambiente donde la gente quizás quería hacer lo correcto, pero no sabía cómo.

 

Creo que lo primero es darle espacio para descubrirse y ser. Y creo que eso es tan cierto, para los jóvenes queer que tienen un entorno realmente seguro para poder explorar su orientación sexual, su identidad de género, quién es uno como persona. Y ese no es siempre el caso en el trabajo o en la escuela o en ciertos otros lugares donde los jóvenes se encuentran en la comunidad.

 

Creo que lo que realmente me emociona escuchar en tu pregunta es que al menos en un miembro de la familia, en una persona, él tiene a alguien que realmente va a crear un ambiente en casa donde es seguro explorar esas identidades.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Jason. Gracias, Jason. Alcaldesa Parker, ¿hay algo que quisiera agregar en respuesta a alguna de las preguntas?

 

Annise Parker: Bueno, absolutamente. Hablamos de la comunidad LGBTQI, pero debido a que somos parte de todos los grupos raciales y étnicos, tenemos diferencias, tenemos divisiones, no todos somos personas perfectas. Y entonces, sí, tenemos que luchar como movimiento y como organizaciones para asegurarnos de que somos sensibles a los miembros de la comunidad que están subrepresentados y pueden necesitar atención especial, para asegurarnos de que estén incluidos en los ensayos clínicos en el acceso al alivio de COVID-19, etcétera.

 

Pero para la señora que llamó recién, soy madre, soy abuela, y quiero decirle qué es un tremendo cumplido para usted que su nieto haya podido y esté dispuesto a hablar con usted cuando no lo hizo con ninguna otra persona de la familia. Hay mucho que desgranar en lo que preguntó. Lo que puede hacer por él es ser una aliada fuerte y solidaria, porque una de las cosas que más previenen que nuestros jóvenes se lastimen, se suiciden, es tener a alguien en la familia que esté dispuesto a ser un recurso y alguien a quien puedan acceder.

 

Quiero darte las gracias por eso. Quédate con él. Mantente conectada con él. Estimúlalo y dile que vaya a la escuela o consiga un trabajo. Pero asegúrate de mantener las líneas de comunicación abiertas para que él pueda hablar sobre cómo él está explorando su sexualidad.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias. Gracias. Gracias. Gracias, alcaldesa Parker. Y solo quiero ir rápidamente a la Dra. Blackstock. En 30 segundos, ¿qué consejos tiene para iniciar La conversación con quienes no quieren vacunarse, o retrasan hacerlo, de una manera respetuosa y significativa en 30 segundos?

 

Oni Blackstock: Claro. Solo quiero decir que creo que se trata menos de vacilación y más de preocupaciones válidas y justificadas. Pero solo diría que es importante entrar en la conversación desde un lugar de curiosidad y asombro y querer entender versus una conversación en torno al juicio y la vergüenza. Es genial hacer preguntas abiertas. Podría decir: "Recuerdo que mencionaste X, Y, Z sobre la vacuna. Me pregunto qué piensas ahora.

 

Cuéntame acerca de: ¿Cuáles son tus preocupaciones?". Y realmente afirmar a las personas por tomar las medidas que han tomado hasta ahora para mantenerse a salvo y mantener seguras a sus comunidades. Y luego, también, si deseas compartir información, primero pide permiso y luego comparte información una vez que la persona diga: "Está bien, estoy dispuesto a escuchar". Esos son solo algunos detalles sobre cómo tener una conversación respetuosa y significativa sobre las preocupaciones sobre de las vacunas.

 

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Gracias, Dra. Blackstock. Esta ha sido una discusión tan rica e informativa. Quiero darles las gracias a todos por responder nuestras preguntas. A Jason, a Rodrigo, a la alcaldesa Parker y a la Dra. Blackstock, y también a la Dra. Bates, muchas gracias a todos. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP en las comunidades de todo el país por participar en esta discusión.

 

Quiero recordarles que AARP es una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista con membresía. Y hemos trabajado para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país durante más de 60 años. Frente a esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus, prevenir su propagación a otras personas y, al mismo tiempo, cuidar de sí mismos.

 

Todos los recursos mencionados, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas de hoy, se podrán encontrar en www.aarp.org/coronavirus el 25 de junio. Una vez más, esa dirección web es www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Ve allí si tu pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarás las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

 

Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo valioso hoy, algo que pueda mantenerlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos saludables. Queremos agradecerles por acompañarnos. Y para los meses de julio y agosto, haremos una pausa en nuestra programación del teleasambleas sobre la COVID-19 con planes de reanudar el 16 de septiembre. Esperamos que nos acompañen. Gracias. Que tengan un buen día. Feliz Orgullo a todos. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

 

The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era

 June 24, 7 pm

Listen to  a replay of the live event above.

Older Americans have been hard hit by the coronavirus and LGBTQ older adults are particularly vulnerable and more likely to have adverse consequences from COVID-19. This event addressed the impact of the pandemic on older LGBTQ adults, as well as providing information about  the Equality Act and how AARP is fighting to improve the health, finances and well-being of older LGBTQ adults. 

The Experts:

  • Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS,
    Founder and Executive Director,
    Health Justice

  • Jason E. Starr,
    Director of Litigation,
    Human Rights Campaign

  • Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen,
    Deputy Executive Director,
    National Center for Transgender Equality

  • Annise Parker,
    President & CEO,
    Victory Institute 

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal