Pride: Beyond the Rainbow Flag

June 2023 | Sherrill Wayland, SAGE

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Each June, rainbow flags wave from rooftops and flag poles as a visible sign of support for LGBTQ+ people. As quickly as the flags appear, they disappear, not to be seen for another year. The need for support and visibility continues even when the flags come down.

SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging is often asked how aging and disability organizations can show support to older LGBTQ+ people. One way is to go beyond flying the rainbow flag in June and ensuring you meet the needs of older LGBTQ+ people every day. A vital place to start is ensuring your organization has nondiscrimination policies and intake forms inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. These two steps help LGBTQ+ people to feel welcomed and supported when receiving services.

To assist organizations in asking demographic questions inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, the SAGE National Resource Center recently updated the best practice guide, Inclusive Questions for Older Adults: A Practical Guide to Collecting Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Relying on research, real-world knowledge, and experience,
the guide outlines:

  • Why collecting data on LGBTQ+ older people is important for service delivery
  • How to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity questions into client forms
  • Helpful suggestions for discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with older clients

This guide serves as a reference point for administrators, managers, and direct service staff to utilize in both daily practice and organizational planning to better engage and serve their
LGBTQ+ older adult clients.

By incorporating these inclusive demographic questions on intake forms, your organization moves beyond raising the rainbow flag in June and extends your commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity every day of the year. To learn more about how organizations can increase support of older LGBTQ+ people, visit the SAGE National Resource Center at