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A New Step Toward Dignity For All: Navigating D.C.’s Care of LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amen A New Step Toward Dignity For All: Navigating D.C.’s Care of LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amen

A New Step Toward Dignity For All: Navigating D.C.’s Care of LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2020

The District of Columbia has embarked on a movement to protect the rights of LGBTQ seniors and seniors with HIV through its the Care for LGBTQ Seniors and Seniors with HIV Amendment Act of 2020 (“the Act”). The D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) is tasked with enforcement of the Act, which applies to all long-term care facilities in the District of Columbia (“Facilities”).

The Act, which has some teeth via OHR’s ability to fine violators up to $10,000, (1) prohibits Facilities from taking certain actions (as described below); (2) requires Facilities to train their entire staff, including contractors, biennially with an OHR-certified trainer; (3) mandates biennial reporting; (4) requires protection of certain personally identifying information; and (5) requires posting notice of certain information.


The Act prohibits Facilities in the District from engaging in the following conduct:
  • Denying admission on the basis of HIV or LGBTQ status;
  • Refusing to transfer a resident, or forcibly transferring a resident, due to their HIV or LGBTQ status;
  • Discharging or evicting a resident due to their HIV or LGBTQ status;
  • Denying a request by a resident to share a room with another resident;
  • Assigning or reassigning a transgender resident to a room that is not in accordance with that resident’s gender identity or expression;
  • Requiring a resident to provide documentation or evidence of gender to gain entrance to a rest room or other sex-segregated facility or setting that is available to other residents of the same gender identity or expression;
  • Knowingly refusing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of same;
  • Denying a resident the right to clothing, accessories, or cosmetics, or refusing to allow grooming practices consistent with the resident’s gender identity or expression that are permitted for other residents of the same gender identity or expression;
  • Denying a resident the right to privacy or free association with other residents or visitors, including the right to consensual expressions of intimacy or sexual relations; or
  • Denying or restricting a resident from medical or nonmedical care that unreasonably demeans their dignity or causes avoidable discomfort.
In addition, the Act prohibits staff not involved in providing direct care from being present during a physical exam or the provision of personal care if the resident is partially or fully unclothed without express consent. It also requires the use of privacy screens or other visual barriers to provide privacy during such care. 


The Act requires Facilities in the District to arrange for and pay for training of all “Staff.” The definition of “Staff” has a far-reaching scope, and includes (1) employees who do not directly render care for residents and (2) contractors of a Facility. This seemingly includes non-medical contactors, including, but not limited to, hair stylists, transportation providers, teachers of exercise classes, and other individuals who are contracted by the Facility to render services to residents.

The training must be conducted by an OHR certified trainer and must occur every two years for current Staff. New Staff must be trained within six months of hire unless they provide proof of having been trained within prior two years.  

The OHR expects to certify its first cohort of trainers no later than March 1, 2023, with the expectation that trainings should begin no later than May 1, 2023.


The Act requires Facilities to file a report with OHR certifying that all employees have completed the training. This requirement begins 60 days after the OHR certifies its list of trainers, which is anticipated to occur no later than March 1, 2023. Failure to provide the required report may result in a fine of up to $10,000.

Personal Information:

The Act requires Facilities to provide residents with the opportunity to provide information as to their gender identity or expression, as well as their preferred name and pronouns. Once provided, facilities are required to protect that information and any other information regarding their sexual orientation, transition history, and HIV status from unauthorized disclosure. Facilities must take reasonable steps to minimize inadvertent or incidental disclosure to other residents, visitors, or staff who do not have a need to know.


Facilities are required to post notice stating that it prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV status, or based on an association with such an individual. The notice must include information about the right to file a complaint with OHR and be posted in a conspicuous location.


The OHR intends to begin enforcing the Act no later than May 1.  Accordingly, Facilities should begin undertaking the following actions immediately:
  1. Schedule mandatory training for all staff and contractors with an OHR-certified trainer upon release of the list, which is expected to occur no later than March 1.
  2. Develop new internal policies immediately to comply with the Act that address the prohibitions—as well as the protection—of personal information.
  3. Update employee handbooks to update the policies and disseminate to all staff. 
  4. Update resident policies and intake forms to ensure compliance with the Act.
  5. Update policies and agreements with contractors that address compliance and make training a condition of such agreements.
  6. Create and post required notices in conspicuous locations.
  7. Designate responsibility for oversight of compliance and update job description(s) accordingly.
  8. Provide additional training to managers on their responsibilities for compliance including modeling conduct, monitoring conduct, and reporting misconduct.
  9. Once training is complete, file report with OHR.
  10. Maintain file with certifications in case of audit.
Ice Miller partner Jen Jackman is participating in the OHR’s first certified training cohort and can work with your Facility to ensure compliance in a cost-effective manner. Contact Jen at or 202-888-2333 for more information.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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