Villa law ensures support for older LGBTQ adults in Illinois

WEST CHICAGO – Thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa, older LGBTQ adults across Illinois will have expanded advocacy at the state level to address disparities in treatment, care and overall well-being.

“No one should experience discrimination when it comes to the care and resources available to them, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “For far too long, though, that hasn’t been the case. This law helps to make right generations of disparity.”

Previously Senate Bill 3490, the new law creates the Commission on LGBTQ Aging, adds LGBTQ representation to the Council on Aging, requires the Department of Aging to designate an LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate, and creates an LGBTQ Older Adult Curriculum & Training Program for Department of Aging.

LGBTQ people of all ages have historically faced unique challenges rooted in discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including a lack of legal and social recognition and reduced access to inclusive services and affirming care.

This is especially significant for those living with HIV. According to the CDC, nearly half of people in the United States living with diagnosed HIV are 50 and older, meaning that access to specialized care is necessary for many older adults.

“The LGBTQ community has historically overcome incredible adversity, and this law creates equity and prevents discrimination when it comes to necessary care,” Villa said. “They deserve the same access to support and resources everyone else has, and I’m proud to help ensure they do.”

The legislation goes into immediate effect.