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Advocates push for LGBTQ-friendly housing solutions in Dallas

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dallasvoice.com

Artist’s rendering of Oak Lawn Place Seniors have a great risk of being abused and neglected when it comes to housing, according to the Coalition for Aging LGBT CAROLINE SAVOIE | Contributing Writer CaroSavoWrites@gmail.com When Robert Emery, 64, walks into senior housing communities on training days, he asks his audience a question: “Who knows or loves someone who is LGBT?” Usually, a few timid hands come up around the room, he said.

At the end of the 60-minute discussion, he asks the question again. “Without fail, 100 percent of people raise their hands” that second time, Emery said. “The fact is, everyone knows someone who is LGBT, but they’re not used to talking about it until someone comes in and makes it okay.” Emery, a founding board member of Coalition for Aging LGBT in Dallas, said that during the last decade, he’s noticed more and more seniors proclaiming their place in the community.

He said the rising number of seniors coming out is inextricably linked to how supported and empowered they feel. Openly LGBTQ seniors “have a great risk of being abused and neglected when it comes to housing,” Emery said. “And a majority of LGBT seniors reported abuse or neglect after being outed to staff.

It’s unbelievably powerful to be supported by management.” Cece Cox Emery said he advocates for the approximate 400,000 LGBTQ seniors in North Texas by providing cultural competencies training at retirement communities.

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