Assisted Living Resident Protections Against LGBTQ+ Associated Discrimination

In addition to an extensive list of rights for an assisted living resident in the state of California, such a resident also is protected from specifically enumerated actions set forth in state statutes and regulations. In this article, we provide a review of those actions from which a California assisted living resident is protected. Specifically, we address the ways in which certain LGBTQ+ residents of an assisted living community are protected against certain actions undertaken by staff. 

The forbidden actions discussed in this article are in addition to the explicit rights enumerated in favor of residents of California assisted living communities. In this article on assisted living resident protections against LGBTQ+ associated discrimination we present the following topics for your consideration:

  • Specific LGBTQ+ resident protections in a California assisted living community
  • Key definitions in regard to certain gender associated assisted living protections
  • Tactics to prevent discrimination of this nature in an assisted living community

Specific LGBTQ+ Associated Resident Protections in a California Assisted Living Community

An assisted living facility and facility staff may not take any of the actions against a resident or prospective resident that are set forth in a moment based wholly or in part on the basis of:

  • Perceived sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • HIV status

The acts that are prohibited based on the statuses referenced a moment ago are:

  • Denying admission to a prospective resident to an assisted living community
  • Requiring a transfer of a resident from an assisted living community
  • Refusing a requested transfer of a resident from an assisted living community
  • Discharging a resident from an assisted living community
  • Evicting a resident from an assisted living community.
  • Denying a request by residents to share a room
  • Where rooms are assigned by gender, assign, reassign, or refuse to assign, a room to a resident who is transgender other than according to the resident’s gender identity, unless at the request of the resident who is transgender
  • Prohibiting a resident from using or harass a resident who seeks to use or uses, a restroom available to others of the same gender identity, regardless of whether the resident is making a gender transition or appears to be gender-nonconforming. Harassment includes, but is not limited to requiring a resident to show identity documents to gain entrance to a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity
  • Willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being informed of the resident’s preferred name or pronouns in a clear manner
  • Denying a resident the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories, or cosmetics permitted for any other resident
  • Restricting a resident’s right to associate with other residents or with visitors, including the right to consensual sexual relations
  • An assisted living facility is not precluded from restricting or banning sexual relations as long as the restriction or ban is applied uniformly to all residents in a nondiscriminatory manner. All residents and their representatives, including potential residents prior to the time of signing the admission agreement, shall be notified in writing of any such facility restriction or ban
  • Denying or restricting medical or non-medical care that is appropriate to a resident’s organs and bodily needs, or providing medical or non-medical care to the resident in a manner that, to a similarly situated reasonable person, unduly demeans the resident’s dignity or causes avoidable discomfort. 

Key Definitions in Regard to Certain Gender-Associated Assisted Living Protections

In order to fully understand the applications afforded to assisted living resident, understanding the definition of some basic terms is helpful. We provide the technical definition of these terms here for your consideration and use:

Gender identity: Gender identity refers to each individual assisted living resident’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender. A resident’s gender identity may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. Some individuals may identify as male or female. On the other hand, other residents of an assisted living facility might identify with a non-binary gender or with no gender at all. A person’s gender identity may be different than the gender that society might attribute to that person on the basis of external signifiers such as clothing or mannerisms as well. 

Transgender: The term transgender applies to individuals that identify with a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. An individual who identifies as transgender may or may not be contemplating or in the process of transitioning to a different gender. 

Tactics to Prevent Discrimination in an Assisted Living Community

There are a number of tactics that can be employed to guard against discrimination in an assisted living community. These include:

  • Comprehensive staff training
  • Promote an inclusive environment for all residents
  • Maintain staff awareness of current issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community
  • Maintain protocol and communication portal for residents to advise of inappropriate actions taking place in an assisted living community