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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 12, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 32
Quebec unveils new plan to care for LGBT seniors
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Quebec unveils new plan to care for LGBT seniors

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The government of Quebec has unveiled a new program and a 'Charter of Welfare' to guide caregivers in the treatment of elderly LGBT people.

The program was developed jointly by Quebec's Ministry for Seniors and the Fondation Emergence, Quebec's leading LGBT organization.

The aim of the new program is to protect LGBT seniors from homophobia and abuse of the elderly, Quebec officials said.

Fondation Emergence president Laurent McCutcheon noted that LGBT seniors who now need extra care were among the first generation to come out, and they want to continue to live openly as LGBT people.

'The first generation of openly LGBT people does not want to go back in the closet,' McCutcheon said.

'With this program for LGBT seniors, we want to support the people who interact with the seniors in their desire to respect differences, and give them the tools to be inclusive of all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.'

Quebec's Minister for Seniors, Marguerite Blais, said that LGBT seniors had previously been a 'forgotten' segment of the population.

'I am proud to support the Fondation Emergence's program for LGBT seniors. This innovative initiative contributes to the betterment of a part of the population that has too often been forgotten, by promoting the inclusion of LGBT seniors in Quebec society.

'The Charter of Welfare takes us one step forward in our struggle to combat homophobia and elder abuse, so that LGBT seniors can continue to fulfill their potential in their living environments. I warmly invite all stakeholders to work together with openness to implement the program,' Blais said.

Roberto Bomba of the FIQ (Federation Interprofessionnelle de la Sante du Quebec), Quebec's health-care workers' union, said there would be multiple benefits of this program, and added that the FIQ is pleased to participate.

'The members of our Federation are professionals in nursing and cardio who work daily alongside the elderly. This program will better prepare them to deal with the realities of LGBT elders. The FIQ will provide full support to the Fondation Emergence and see that their agenda is disseminated as widely as possible in all public health facilities.'

Having completed all the preparatory work in cooperation with the Ministry for Seniors, the Fondation Emergence has posted a package of information on its website, and the Charter is one of the first elements.

A special website for LGBT seniors and their caregivers will be created, where educational tools, information, and training will be offered, McCutcheon said.

French-speaking Montreal, the largest city in Quebec, and English-speaking Toronto, the capital of Ontario, both claim to have Canada's largest LGBT population.

Montreal's le village gai - the 'Gay Village' - is the center of LGBT-owned businesses, and has seen considerable government investment in amenities and services in recent years.

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