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 “Doctors who don’t have an education about the LGBT community are a major systemic barrier. In the schools of medicine there are doctors who are homophobic… A lot of doctors don’t want to touch HIV-infected patients.”  “…They ask questions about husbands, their relationships, etc., that are not applicable. They don’t even realize how insensitive they are.” Accessing formal healthcare services for Hispanic older adults is often impeded by language barriers. Lacking English proficiency to communicate with health professionals poses a serious hurdle for older adults who do not speak English:  “The challenge is to train in our native language the communities or the centers that, in one form or another, are going to provide those services.” (3) Lack of information on the services available to LGBT individuals – Several respondents stressed the need to make information on the availability of services easily accessible to LGBT seniors. The lack of information impedes access to and utilization of services, which may have detrimental effects on this population’s health.  “There is a lack of information and knowledge about where services are located. There is also a difficulty speaking about one’s own health, as well as a language barrier. This community is not used to speaking about its health, body, or sexuality.” Another respondent thought that some older adults may feel disadvantaged because they are immigrants and not entitled to certain services. Federal and state laws deny or limit immigrants’ ability to access many of the benefits that are available for citizens.  “…the majority of Hispanics think that as immigrants they don’t have rights to certain services. Perhaps access is not such a problem as lack of information.” One participant also raised an issue that using computer technologies could be an additional barrier to accessing valuable information by older adults, not only for the LGBT community:  “I don’t think just the LGBT community, but all elderly persons, have a hard time with new technology, new advances in information and accessing that information.” (4) Legal barriers for LGBT partners to access health insurance – An informant from Washington, DC mentioned that due to the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in all states, it creates legal barriers to partners’ abilities to access their partner’s healthcare insurance policy and hinders their ability to be effective caregivers, not only to each other, but to each other’s families as well.  “…That’s why we live in the District of Columbia. We have those policies around domestic partners, same-sex marriage. So we’re different in DC…The challenge we may be facing is like either my mom or my partner’s mother and we have to make decisions. Chances are that if my partner is not here, I may not be able to sign papers for her mother because I am not [legally] her relative…It would be easier if I was her daughter-in-law.” 36

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

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