LGBT Seniors Going Back into the Closet

Alarming Challenges of LGBT Senior Population is Focus of New Awareness Campaign

HARTFORD, Connecticut—Delivering Tuesday night’s State of the Union message and referring to the service of our troops, President Obama said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails.” It’s a metaphor for the battle against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Seniors.

As the president said, the soldier wants to know that his or her back is covered, without questioning politics, gender, or sexual orientation of that support.  LGBT Caregiver Crosswalk, a recently released video in the running for a prestigious TED Ads Worth Spreading award, brings light to this other battle for human rights of LGBT Caregivers.

More than a third of the two million LGBT seniors in our nation are clinically depressed, according More than a third of the two million LGBT seniors in our nation report depression and one half have a known disability, according to the recent federally funded Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults.  “It’s the tip of the financial, legal, and emotional iceberg facing our most under-served population, which will double by 2030,” says James Huysman, PsyD, LCSW the CEO of International Caregiver Network (ICN), whose company is competing to become one of the top ten TED Ads Worth Spreading Award honorees and is asking users to support this vital mission through an online voting campaign.

TED is a nonprofit that supports social entrepreneurship.  It began in 1984 as an innovative fusion of three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  Since then, TED has grown into a global community with two annual conferences – the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TED Global conference in Edinburgh UK each summer.  TED is well-known for its award-winning TED Talks video site ( and the annual TED Prize.

Through the Ads Worth Spreading Awards, TED is sharing their platform with the experts moving this revolution forward. TED has accepted ICN’s video from The Caring Heart Project: DETROIT (CHPD) entitled “LGBT Caregiver Crosswalk”, into its competition.  To vote, users are being asked to go to

In the Caring Hearts Project: DETROIT feature story, AJ O’Neil, lives apart from his partner who had to leave Detroit to care for his own mother.  A collection of webisodes document this caregiving story at

The top ten final selections will be revealed at the TED 2012 Conference in Long Beach, CA February 27-March 2, 2012.  In the LGBT Caregiver Crosswalk video CEO, Dr. Huysman, a psychologist and one of the country’s leading authorities on senior care issues, says that the landmark Health and Aging study underscores the needs of the LGBT senior and boomer population, many of them facing severe situations and, fearing discrimination, are actually being forced back into the closet.

Some of the other findings in the landmark study that are cited include that almost two thirds have been victimized 3 or more times, more than 20% do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to their physician, and about one third do not have a will or durable power of attorney for healthcare. For the full study go to the Caring and Aging with Pride project website,

ICN has partnered with Diversity Works LLC, a LGBT-owned, strategic marketing and communications agency specializing in diversity and disability issues, to bring awareness to LGBT caregiver needs. For more information about Diversity Works, visit:


banner ad