21 Oct 2020
Get to Know Our Expert Trainers – Jacqueline Boyd
How and why did you get started as a SAGECare certified trainer?
I’ve admired SAGECare since I started my business in 2015. It wasn’t until 2016 that I was closely connected with SAGE and was able to ask to become a SAGECare trainer. Learning the curriculum and meeting the team was a great pleasure, and since I started I’ve participated in or delivered dozens of SAGECare trainings. I love seeing the impact that it has on providers who may have never considered the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ seniors. It’s been a total honor.
What is your background?
I’ve been in healthcare since I was 18 and started out as a Certified Nursing Assistant working in nursing homes. After graduating from college, I worked with seniors as an administrator in a home care agency in Chicago. Over a period of 12 years, I had seen the aging process and our healthcare system from a number of perspectives, whether my client was at home, in a rehab facility, at the hospital or in senior housing. After consistently seeing the lack of visibility for LGBTQ+ seniors in my work, I was inspired to center their experiences in starting my own business. At The Care Plan, we provide care planning, care management and professional education from an LGBTQ+ perspective. This means that we are able to support seniors with finding the resources they need and advocating for them to receive the highest quality care.
What is the best story you can provide from your experience as a trainer?
Every training is its own best story because of the people. Each room I get to be in as a trainer is a small window into a community with its own culture and mission. That’s really an honor, to share space and support people learning collaboratively. My favorite moments are the ones where people share stories of the LGBTQ+ seniors they’ve worked with and the impact they’ve had. There was one community on the East Coast that I trained that was really excited because they were having their first lesbian identified couple move into the community. They took the SAGECare training because they wanted to ‘get it right’ and be sure the two women had a positive experience. They were full of questions, good ideas, and concerns about how to ensure the other community members would be welcoming. Discussing those types of situations and problem solving together is a large part of what keeps me coming back as a trainer.
Another one of my favorite sessions was at a Veterans home in the middle of Indiana. Being a Chicago girl, originally from a small town in Illinois, I really looked forward to seeing how the SAGECare training would be received by providers who work with veterans in a rural area. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a policy that directly impacted many LGBTQ+ seniors.LGBTQ+ people who served during that time were terrified to come out of the closet and often did everything they could to hide their identities for fear of harassment or being kicked out of the military. In the auditorium where I presented the training, there were a number of important moments of acknowledgement that happened around the history of LGBTQ+ people in the military. We were able to discuss the difficulties, reflect on how their housing community could address their unique challenges, and find many places of commonality. These again are the moments that keep me coming back.
Tell us why you feel LGBT cultural competency training is essential?
I know it is critical because of my experience in healthcare and aging. The lack of visibility translates to real life repercussions for LGBTQ+ seniors. For example, I’ve been in hundreds of doctor’s appointments with my clients in the role of Care Manager. Never once has a doctor asked about gender identity, sexual orientation or taken a health history for the senior I was with. I’ve been in and out of hundreds of senior communities, and until the last few years had never seen a rainbow flag, programming that featured LGBTQ+ people and histories, or seen LGBTQ+ seniors reflected in marketing. How are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer seniors supposed to know if they will be welcome, or if they belong, if there’s no aspect of their identity that is visible. I have worked with many clients who experienced cultures of suppression and harassment in senior housing because of their identity.
But the positive side of why it’s important is because diversity is a strength. When LGBTQ+ people contribute openly to the culture of a community, everyone benefits. The resilience we bring to the table, the celebration of individuality and difference, and fact that we are more likely to be mentors and activists make us great community members. I see that in the seniors I serve every day, and have seen how communities are positively impacted when everyone can be who they are.
What advice do you have for allies?
You are critical. Now more than ever your voices and advocacy can make a difference. Please talk to your family, friends, colleagues. Ask them questions, have open dialogue when you hear a hurtful comment, bias or lack of understanding. You can have an impact.
Jacqueline Boyd, BA, BS, CGCM, brings passion and expertise to the field of aging and LGBTQ+ advocacy. A dynamic speaker, facilitator, and entrepreneur, Jacqueline is the owner of The Care Plan. The Care Plan is the country’s first LGBTQ+ centered care management company and The Care Plan’s innovative model of client directed care provides advocacy, care navigation, and advance planning for successful aging experiences.