Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz are not just heroes of the LGBT Community, but without exaggeration, they are also the nicest lesbian couple we have ever had the pleasure to meet. Over 30 years ago this remarkable pair of feisty colorful outspoken Jewish women from Brooklyn divorced their husbands and left their children to start a life together which has included their lifetime commitment to selflessly helping our community.
One of the (very many) achievements that these two LGBT activists chalked up was way back in 1988 when they successfully sued the NY City Board of Education for domestic partnership rights. Now in their 80’s and keeping all their fellow residents in the Seniors Home in Palm Beach on their (political) toes, Ruthie (as she is known by most) and Connie have never ever stopped to making this world a better place for the LGBT community.
Queerguru first met the pair in 2015 when they had just been honored with the SAGE Pioneer Award presented by Services & Advocacy For GLBT Elders by the country’s largest and oldest organization for LGBT seniors. We sat together in the Biltmore Hotel and the very talkative pair shared their incredible life stories with us (see http://queerguru.com/2016/03/ruth-connie-a-love-story),and we have been both fans and friends of them both ever since.
Now U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-22) has reintroduced the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Elder Americans Act to Congress and had it officially named the Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act.
“When Congress passed the Older Americans Act, it was intended to help protect our seniors and ensure their access to essential health services, but LGBT seniors are at even greater risk of discrimination,” said Deutch.
“They (LGBT seniors) face immense obstacles in their twilight years, like higher rates of poverty and social isolation. I’m especially proud to introduce this bill, named in honor of Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz, a South Florida couple who are leading the charge for LGBT seniors’ rights,” said Deutch in a news release from his Congressional office.
We congratulate Ruthie and Connie and thank them (again) for being such a wonderful inspiration to both our community and to us personally.