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People over the age of 50 are a key demographic in Illinois, making up a third of the state’s overall population. Older Illinoisans are also well-represented among Illinois’ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ) community. Of the estimated 506,000 LGBTQ adults in Illinois, about one-quarter (24%) are over the age of 50.

AARP of Illinois is proud to stand with SAGE as well as with our colleagues at Equality Illinois, Pride Action Tank, Center on Halsted, and RRF Foundation for Aging, to present a new, ground-breaking report – Disrupting Disparities: Solutions for LGBTQ Illinoisans Age 50+. 

Why We Need Change

Our Current Landscape

Although a key part of Illinois’ rapidly growing elder population, LGBTQ older adults remain largely invisible. Though resilient, LGBTQ older adults face significant disparities that are rooted in discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, racism, a lack of legal and social recognition, a reliance on chosen family, reduced access to inclusive services, and other social determinants of health and well-being. Disparities are often compounded and thus even greater for the estimated 1 in 5 LGBTQ older adults of color.  The recommendations made in this report are equally critical for 50-plus LGBTQ Illinoisans, many of whom are older adults of color.

About Our Study

Focusing On Older LGBTQ Communities

Illinois has made progress in addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ older adults. However, state policymakers can do more to ensure that this community has the tools and resources needed to thrive and age successfully. Given the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ older adults, AARP of Illinois commissioned this report to 1) identify the disparities faced by Illinois’ 50-plus LGBTQ population; and 2) develop concrete policy solutions to address these disparities.

Who we are

our partner organization

As the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older adults, SAGE is proud to stand with AARP in improving the lives of older LGBTQ Illinoisans and their families. This report could not have come at a more important time, as COVID-19 continues to exacerbate disparities that long predated the current public health and economic crisis.

Next Steps

Ways we can create Change

The report includes a series of policy recommendations on the need for a comprehensive strategy to support LGBTQ older adults; equal access to inclusive programs and services; and LGBTQ-inclusive data collection. Action is particularly important to address the discriminatory legal, societal, and cultural conditions that have enabled even greater disparities faced by LGBTQ older adults of color and transgender older adults.

Hugging Women
IT'S A Beginning

We're Just getting Started

This report and policy recommendations are just the beginning of a multiyear effort to create systemic policy changes on behalf of, and with, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American/ Pacific Islander older adults in Illinois. The goal is to create an Illinois where older LGBTQ adults across communities can age with the economic stability, inclusive health care resources and LGBTQ-inclusive data collection to lead healthy, stable and rewarding lives.