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Advocates celebrate 2022 state legislation that improves LGBTQ+ lives in New York

A group of people wears rainbow-colored clothes while holding a sign that says "Sage Upstate."
SAGE Upstate
SAGE Upstate
A group of people hold a SAGE Upstate sign in support of the organization's LGBTQIA+ initiatives.

Members of Central New York’s LGBTQ community are looking back on some significant legislative victories in 2022, many of which have taken effect in the last quarter. Such as

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation in October that created more state physical and mental health service programs for older LGBTQ adults. Executive Director of SAGE Upstate Kim Dill said the adult LGBTQ community is often isolated and the most in need.

"We are less likely to have children to rely on for support," Dill said. "We're are less likely to have connection to biological family that could provide support, and we're more likely to live alone. And despite all of that, we're less likely to reach out to services like those that would come through with this legislation."

Dill said older LGBTQ members are also likely to start developing health issues but don’t have the resources to manage them due to past discrimination.

"When we get to retirement age, maybe we haven't had those promotions," Dill said. "Maybe we had to move from job to job because we couldn't keep a job because we were fired because we're LGBTQ. So, we get to a situation where we may be less financially stable since your insurance is connected to your employment. We may also have insurance issues."

A man and an older woman hug in front of an art exhibit.
Sage Upstate
Older Sage Upstate affiliates attend the queer icons exhibit at Artrage

Dill said the legislation will help to strengthen services between SAGE, county governments and other agencies that provide aging services. In her 20 years at SAGE, she said agencies have gone from reluctant to supportive of the LGBTQ community.

"But now, we go out and do trainings and they're just really wanting this information," Dill said. "They want to serve everybody, they know they have LGBTQ clients, and they just need the tools to do it. So, we're happy to do that. We hope that those efforts could have more funding behind them."

Another measure signed by Gov. Hochul before Christmas addressed healthcare disparities among younger LGBTQ populations, especially runaway and homeless youth. It allows those under 18 to consent to medical, dental, health and hospital care. Current law requires parental consent for minors to receive care. More than 40% of runaways or homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.

The legislative package also better equips nurses and home health aides to work with LGBTQ individuals.

A woman sits at a table decorated in pride color streamers as pamphlets and a signature sheet lie on the table.
Sage Upstate
A woman collects signatures for Sage Upstate at a fair.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at