No golden years for LGBT seniors

Jeremy Mykaels is a senior facing eviction in the Castro

According to studies, queer seniors are poorer than their straight counterparts. They’re half as likely to have health insurance, and two-thirds as likely to live alone. Not to mention facing discrimination in medical and social services, retirement homes, and nursing care facilities. So much for the “golden years.”
Here in San Francisco, LGBT seniors face another grave threat: evictions. Many of our elderly live in rent-controlled apartments that are targeted by real-estate speculators and investors out to make big bucks turning them into tenancies-in-common.

With median rents close to $3,000 a month and vacancy rates low, the odds are pretty good that an evicted senior won’t find an affordable place in the city. For a senior with AIDS, an eviction is especially threatening since our city offers the best treatment and services. Studies show that people with AIDS who lose their apartments tend to die sooner, especially if they become homeless. 

The only LGBT organization that actually addresses the housing needs of queer seniors is Open House. Its 110 units at 55 Laguna will be the first affordable queer senior housing development in the city. I hope it’s not the last. As for seniors with AIDS, there’s only one AIDS organization in the vast list of groups and services -- the AIDS Housing Alliance -- that actually finds housing for its clients. It was started by Brian Basinger, a gay man with AIDS, after he was evicted and his apartment was sold as a TIC.

No one knows how many LGBT seniors have been, and are being, evicted. Ditto for how many seniors with AIDS end up on the streets. We also don’t have stats on how many transgender seniors are victims of real estate greed or live in absolute terror of losing their homes. 

The Rent Board doesn’t break down its eviction stats by sexual orientation or even age. The city’s homeless count doesn’t mention if someone’s queer or transgender. There is no way to determine how many LGBT seniors live in SROs or with life-threatening conditions such as mold or lack of heat. Or how many live in homes that have been -- or are being -- foreclosed.

That’s why the housing subcommittee of the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force is holding a hearing into the housing needs and concerns of queer seniors. Information is power.

All LGBT seniors -- housed and homeless -- are invited to come testify about their housing issues. Whether they live in an SRO or a home that they own, whether they sleep in a shelter or a rent-controlled apartment, whether they’re in a subsidized unit or an illegal in-law, the subcommittee wants to hear from them about their concerns and needs.

The subcommittee will ultimately be making recommendations that will be included in a task force report on what the city can do to address LGBT issues.
LGBT seniors deserve their golden years.

The hearing is Monday, April 1, 9am to 12 noon, room 416, City Hall. Written testimony accepted. For more info, call Tommi at 415-703-8634.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca is a longtime queer and tenants rights/affordable housing activist who works for Housing Rights Committee. He is a member of the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.


Wow, hilarious. (They are your signature words).

What drugs are you on today?

Now on to someone who's not an useless willfully-ignorant troll and who has an operative brain.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

Fool. Some people don't identify as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. They identify as queer. That's why the Q should be included.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

I don't.

I "identify" as human. Problem?

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

Yes, problem.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

And perhaps for anyone else who is overly obsessed with their self-categorization.

For normal, well-balanced people - not so much.

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 2:04 pm
Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

may be more common among those who choose less conventional lifestyles, but it certainly isn't restricted to them.

Posted by anon on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 7:04 am

Anon, I know it's in vain to tell you, but homosexuality is neither a choice nor a lifestyle. And it's not particularly unconventional anymore--ask an dull, tract-home-owning homo accountant from Foster City.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 7:25 am

suggest a reason why one person I know used to be gay and now is not?

That rather suggests that there is a conscious component in there, in addition to whatever aspects of being gay genuinely cannot be helped.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:01 am

...a choice? When did you choose to be heterosexual?

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:34 am

If i thought it was 100% discretionary, I would have said so. It's not. But it's not 0% either.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:47 am

...did you choose to be heterosexual, if there's some element of choice there?

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:47 am

"[Gore] Vidal always rejected the terms of "homosexual" and "heterosexual" as inherently false, claiming that the vast majority of individuals had the potential to be pansexual"

"[Harry] Hay's belief in the cultural minority status of homosexuals led him to take a stand against assimilationism. This stance led him to criticize both the mainstream gay rights movement and some of the movement's radical components, including the AIDS activist group ACT UP."

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:49 am

and if he'd become governor the state would be in such better shape that that matlocks would seem even sillier deriding progressives.

I'd forgotten where I'd heard that about homosexuality/heterosexuality but the idea struck me as rock solid. It is a stupid human trick(r) to falsely catagorize things along sharp divisions even when no such natural break is suggested; and when such divisions hold little utility for understanding or predicting the world around us.

Gore was also a great historian and author. Last read 1876.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:04 am
Posted by matlock on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

Nothing says assimilation like wanting to be part of a heterosexual institution.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:04 am

orientation is a choice; and that pro-equality gays are *against* assimilation; and that heterosexuality is an "institution."

So much effrontery in so few words!

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:20 am

...DO oppose marriage, including same-sex marriage. So do straights who reject assimilations.

But most gays don't reject assimilation: they want access to all the same institutions as straights. I can't think of a good reason to deny them that.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:24 am

I don't think that gays who oppose assimilation oppose same sex marriage per se. What I see opposition to is the hijacking of the lesbian and gay agenda by assimilationist conservatives so that their agenda, military and marriage, sucks the oxygen out of the room for progressive initiatives like housing and job discriminiation.

Used to be that anti-assimilationism was a political act. Today, anti-assimilationism has little to do with homo-sex, and much more to do with gender theory and presentation issues. As one of the anti-assimilationists from way back in the homocore days, I've been told by latter day anti-assimilationists that in order to not assimilate, one needs to go go the gender or glitter extreme.

This is the typical radical left reaction that if something is associated with repression or assimilation, than everything associated with it in turn must be negated and that opposite synthesized into an ideal.

The dominant paradigm got most, but not everything wrong.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:57 am

"Used to be that anti-assimilationism was a political act. Today, anti-assimilationism has little to do with homo-sex, and much more to do with gender theory and presentation issues."

You present a dichotomy that I don't really think is one. How is anti-assimilation for reasons of gender theory and presentation NOT political? It strikes me as the same kind of thing as radical feminist arguments against marriage that date back to the late '60s and, for a few radicals, the 19th century. That was political as hell.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 10:00 am

How could you get that I set up a dichotomy where homo-sex or gender was anti-assimilation and gender or homo-sex was not? I said that the case had been made to me several times that I could not be anti-assimilationist because I did not do gender

Gender can be a political act and when it is a political act it can have an anti-assimilationist component. You can't tell me that Theresa Sparks or Vicky Kolakowski aren't assimilationist transwomen.

There are also many other ways for queers to not assimilate that don't involve gender. There are many ways to be queer, many ways to do gender, many ways to resist assimilation. There is no Grand Unified Queer Field Theory, the problem space is just too complicated and contradicted.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:54 pm
Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

Word choices like that, by the way, make homosexuality sound like something regrettable, like kleptomania.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:38 am

under-represented then, yes, we are being invited to think that life is more difficult if you are not straight.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:48 am

It's because of discrimination against homosexual people. If we're left alone to live our lives in equality with straight people, everything's fine.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:01 am

It's only valid because most people are not that way inclined. A 100% gay society would die out in a couple of generations. By analogy, homosexuality remains a minority since it's genes cannot be passed on through breeding - natural selection mitigates against it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 10:37 am who cares? If anything, a healthy increase in homosexuality is what this planet needs to cut population growth.

I wish you'd just admit that you think homosexuality is intrinsically inferior to heterosexuality.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 10:43 am

As noted, it does lead to additional problems:

1) Lower birth rate (insofar as that is undesirable)

2) Emotional difficulties such as cited here

3) Additional costs of specialist provision such as AIDS care

4) The fiscal burden of any affirmative measures such as extending federal benefits to a whole new class of people.

Are you saying that we should not discuss such things because it is not PC?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 10:55 am

1) the human species is at risk of extinction so we need more babies, preferably heterosexual white ones.

2) humans should never show any emotion.

3) because the social costs of pregnancy and child birth that lesbians and gays subsidize are too much already, we can't afford HIV/AIDS care.

4) lesbians and gays are not entitled to payments on our insurance premiums like everyone else because of who we fuck.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:14 am

such factors. It does not follow that those are the only factors to consider.

But if you really think there are too many people on the planet, then why should we care for old people? Better to let them die early, surely, and keep that population down, huh?

Be careful for what you wish for.

Arguing that being gay helps the planet because it keeps the population down is a stretch, even by your obscure standards.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:23 am

If gays don't reproduce as often (though we do reproduce), less babies are born. More gay, less babies. How is that a stretch?

The answer to your absurd question about old people, by the way, is that we take care of the people who are already here while reducing the number of new births. I would have thought that obvious.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:34 am

...than saying that if 100% of the world were gay, humans would die out.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:36 am

Let's discuss these "issues":

1. As I said, a lower birth rate at this point can only be a good thing for the health of the planet and the human race. There are too many of us as it is.

2. Emotional difficulties, being caused by societal disapproval, will disappear once the disapproval disappears.

3. HIV is mostly transmitted through heterosexual sex.

4. Are you really saying equality should be denied because it costs too much? Usually, people say that gay equality isn't a big deal since we are such a small percentage of the population.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:27 am

extending benefits to a whole new class of people. I was saying that the people should decide if they are comfortable paying for that.

Same thing if we were discussing extending federal benefits to all couples who live together.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:36 am

Of the courts should say that if you pay for class "A" then you have to pay for class "B" because The Voters enacted the 14th amendment and that mandates equal protection under the law, sucka.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 11:46 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

...wouldn't have agreed with you. Mostly, they were leery of democracy and set up a republican system to keep the rabble at arms-length from actual power.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

Judges are appointed by executives elected by the voters and confirmed by Senators elected by the voters, or voted in themselves in some instances. Those judges are also held accountable via the impeachment and recall processes, where available.

Those judges interpret the constitution, passed by the voters of the day, as well as any amendments to that document, also passed by the voters of the day.

You are really as anti-American as I am, only you fear direct democracy because it cannot be controlled.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

We've already dealt with the reason gays' lives tend to be problematic in society, and it's not gays' fault.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 10:45 am

Hello Marcos,

You might have read the gastric excretion from "anon" awhile back that implied that all people are straight and that "white liberals can't commit to a woman."

"Anon" is also all for the straights moving into the Castro and calls it "diversity." It's really newspeak. Ugh. All of this might explain "anon's" complete disrespect for how other people identify. I would also point out that anon has yet to demonstrate a "human" identify on this site despite the claim.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

one and the same person.

I hear that he or she is also "Guest".

You're so smart.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

"You're so smart. "

Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 8:32 am

as can gays. Who cares if straights are moving into the Castro? The ghetto mentality always falls away as minorities are more accepted into the mainstream. Want an older example? Where are the Yiddish communities of the lower east side today? In Long Island and New Jersey - that's where.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

I'm responding to your post for the benefit of others, not for you. With you, there is nothing there.

No one has said anything about a "ghetto." Do you also consider Chinatown an "Asian Ghetto" and do you want to dissolve that too, as one example? And since when did "ghettos" have $1 Million (plus) properties in them? Or rents of $3,000/month for a 1-bedroom? Doesn't sound like a ghetto to me. Sounds like you're continuing on your hate campaign. This time it's against "the gays," eh? I guess tomorrow you'll be whining about the "liberals." What a tiresome troll.

A gay area specifically helps other gay people connect with one another in a safe environment where one does not have to wonder, "is he gay or straight?" In a gay area, the sexuality of another person is pretty much assumed. But some of my friends have already had negative experiences with straights in the Castro who are anti-gay. Why did they move to the Castro in the first place if they are anti-gay?

Here's just one reason why there is a need for a gay area.

Hate Crimes Against Gays and Lesbians Increase In 2011
Posted by Justin Snow |
December 10, 2012 3:57 PM

"Hate crimes against gays and lesbians are on the rise in the U.S., according to the latest report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

and you have an extreme victimization mentality.

And those "anti-gay" straights in the Castro? If they're there they're not voting because Prop 8 was defeated 96%-4% in the Castro. So quit making shit up.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

For those who might be reading this site from other states or countries, Proposition 8 was (unfortunately) passed by the voters of CA in November of 2008. This is 2013. The Castro has changed considerably since November of 2008. It's become more straight since then. There is concern in the neighborhood that the Castro is losing its GLBTQ identity.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

It means gays feel more comfortable living in other parts of the city, and no longer need to be in a prescribed area.

That also means that the Castro will become less white since, until recently, it was also a "white ghetto".

Of course, ideally people won't play identity politics so much - that really would be progress.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 7:07 am

I don't think there's a correlation between the Castro becoming less gay and it becoming less white. Since, like all of San Francisco, it's become prohibitively expensive, and since people of color tend to be economically disadvantages, I think you could say that, if anything, it will become even more white than it already is.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 28, 2013 @ 9:28 am