NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday signed legislation (S2545) to establish specific rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, undesignated/non-binary, questioning, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) older adults and HIV-positive residents of long-term care facilities.
“Building a stronger and fairer New Jersey starts with ensuring that every individual is given the right to live their truth openly and freely,” Murphy said. “Today’s bill signing underscores this commitment to our LGBTQI+ older adults and HIV-positive residents in long-term care facilities by providing critical protections from discrimination. No one should ever feel ashamed for who they are, and everyone should be able to live with the dignity and equality that they deserve.”
“This new civil rights law ensures that LGBTQI+ residents in long-term care facilities have equitable access to health care and provides the same legal protections as everyone else regardless of their sexual orientation or health status,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
“A long-term care facility is a health care setting, but it’s also someone’s home,” said Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “Every person deserves to feel safe, respected, and comfortable where they receive their medical care, and especially in the place they call home. This law is an important step in New Jersey’s continued protection and support of LGBTQI+ individuals throughout their lifespans, including persons with medical conditions and disabilities.”
“This law will provide much needed protections for LGBTQI+ and HIV-positive residents of long-term care,” said New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman Laurie Facciarossa Brewer. “Too often we see LTBTQI+ people going back in the closet when they go into long term care, out of legitimate fear of discrimination, loss of dignity, and freedom. These protections will ensure that our LGBTQI elders can live free from discrimination in these settings.”
Today’s bill signing outlines the “LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights”, which prohibits long-term care facilities from taking any of the following actions based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, intersex status, or HIV status:
- Denying admission to, transferring, discharging, or evicting a resident;
- Opposing a request by residents to share a room;
- Assigning or reassigning a room based on gender;
- Forbidding a resident from using a restroom based on gender;
- Repeatedly failing to use a resident’s chosen name or pronouns despite being informed;
- Denying a resident from wearing clothing, accessories, or cosmetics of their choice;
- Restricting a resident’s right to engage with other residents or with visitors;
- Denying, restricting, or providing unequal medical or non-medical care; and
- Declining to provide any service, care, or reasonable accommodation.