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Summit to focus on LGBT aging issues

SEATTLE -- They came of age at a time before there were basic rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and are the first generation of LGBT people to come out of the closet in any significant number.

LGBT seniors 65 and older number around 3 million across the United States — about 70,000 of them in Washington state.

And as they reach retirement age and enter their golden years, LGBT people say they are confronting unique challenges over health and long-term care and increasingly are forcing agencies and organizations that care for the aged to not just take note but to act.

In fact, the demand for answers around LGBT elder care is significant enough that a summit Tuesday in Seattle reached capacity before organizers could publicize it.

Called “Over the Rainbow,” the daylong event sponsored by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775NW is designed to explore challenges faced by LGBT folks in finding culturally competent long-term care — whether in their homes or in institutions.

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