LGBT aging cultural competency training is available free of charge to aging network agencies and other service providers to improve crucial services for LGBT older adults.

[Richmond, VA] SAGE Central Virginia, the older adult program of Diversity Richmond, introduced today its new training program, a comprehensive curriculum for aging network providers and LGBT organizations that aims to improve the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Many LGBT elders refuse to seek services because they fear discrimination or abuse by staff who do not accept their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender-nonconforming expression.

Although largely invisible until very recently, LGBT older adults make up a growing share of the overall LGBT population and the larger senior population. Estimates of the LGBT older adult population in Central Virginia range from 7,000 to 18,000, although the actual number is difficult to ascertain because of the social stigma that exists against the LGBT community and the fact that many LGBT seniors never publicly come out. Their numbers are expected to double in size over the next several decades. This means that aging providers will increasingly be called on for services and supports that meet their unique needs. The trainings will give agencies the tools and information they need to create inclusive and affirming services for all LGBT older adults.

The trainings on LGBT aging issues are designed to help agencies foster a safe and welcoming environment for LGBT older adults. Free one-hour introductory sessions for aging providers and LGBT organizations are being offered on Tuesdays beginning June 16, 2015 at Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23220. Training times are listed on the Diversity Richmond calendar online. This training is suitable for all levels of staff, including administrators, service providers and volunteers.

Topics covered in the training include:

  • Culture, needs, and concerns of LGBT older adults
  • Why LGBT older adults are less likely to access health and social services
  • Best practices and policies for increasing inclusiveness and safety for LGBT older adults
  • Tools and education to better serve the LGBT older adults who currently access your services, or who are in need of your services
  • Exploring assumptions about aging
  • Exploring attitudes toward various diverse older adults within the LGBT community
  • Supporting inclusion and addressing bias in organizations

This curriculum is part of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging's effort to empower and support providers within the aging network and LGBT organizations to make changes to better serve LGBT older adults and ensure that these older adults have necessary services and supports to successfully age in their communities. The curriculum was developed in partnership with Hunter College, CenterLink, FORGE Transgender Aging Network, GRIOT Circle, The LGBT Aging Project, Openhouse and SAGE USA.

In December 2010, SAGE USA released a report with five other aging and LGBT organizations that found that aging network agencies are willing to provide services to LGBT older adults, but lack the necessary training. The report, Ready to Serve? The Aging Network and Older LGB and T People, also found that agencies that had provided LGBT cultural competency training for their staff were more likely to have had requests for support from openly LGBT older adults-suggesting that training is the key to creating welcoming environments for LGBT elders.

For more information, and to request a training, contact SAGE Central Virginia at or visit DiversityRichmond.org/SAGE.

To read Ready to Serve? The Aging Network and Older LGB and T People, visit sageusa.org.