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Seattle council member wants $75K for city’s LGBTQ elderly

While recent months have seen a surge in awareness about transgender people and the discrimination they face, a new study reveals the elderly LGBTQ population has largely been left out of that conversation.

Now, a Seattle city council member wants the city to pay for a program that will help that community, and their unique healthcare needs.

University of Washington researcher Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen published a study Tuesday that finds LGBTQ older adults in Seattle and King County are at higher risk for health problems &#8212 and health care or aging services providers often don’t even know they exist.

Her research finds they have disabilities and poor health, live alone, and face mental distress. She says many practitioners don’t even realize they’re around.

“In general, LGBTQ adults are mostly invisible,” Fredriksen-Goldsen said.

“[Providers] need to learn to create an environment where people can be themselves, share their lives, and be able to get the care they need.”

As part of ongoing budget discussions Tuesday, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen suggested the city set aside $75,000 towards a new training program that Fredriksen-Goldsen would help develop.

It would be a pilot program to train 100 practitioners on how to work with the older LGBTQ population in Seattle and King County.

To make that program a reality, the council must include it in its 2016 operational budget currently in progress. The council has yet to vote on that budget.

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