Long-term Care - We are not going 'back' into the closet, we are complaining that staff are not trained in cultural safety.
I read another article today (“CBC “The Final Closet”) about GSD seniors going ‘back’ into the closet when they enter care facilities. This has been a ‘call to action’ for years now, indeed it is a strong theme of the DHAC Discussion Paper written by our founder Alex Sanga in 2012.
I have a slightly different take on this issue. What is actually happening is outright discrimination, violation of charter rights, and outright criminal acts perpetrated on the visible GSD Seniors. Going back into the closet would mean ‘acting’ straight and becoming invisible and silent. These seniors who are highlighting what is happening to them in long-term care are doing quite the opposite. The GSD Seniors who are entering long-term care now are the same people who have ‘trail blazed’ GSD rights all their lives. Far from going into the closet….where many of these seniors have never been!…they are continuing their life-long activism and ‘shouting’ to bring attention to a system that they want changed. These kinds of reports often ignore the “resilience” factor of GSD individuals. These voices will only get louder as more of our generation enters long-term care facilities. Facilities need to step-up and develop policy and procedure to help staff and other residents understand what is required to create culturally safe spaces for everyone, including GSD seniors. This can be challenging as many care options are religiously oriented and claim exemption, meaning staff are allowed to practice bigotry in the guise of “religious freedom “.
DSS works with service providers to ensure they have access to appropriate cultural acumen and cultural agility training. You can read the CBC article here.