unrecognized as a crucial issue in the struggle for LGBT
rights and equality, the rapidly increasing number of LGBT
people aged 65 and over has put a strain on the
ability of service agencies to provide for them.
According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, there
are as many as 3 million LGBT senior citizens across
the country, and that number is expected to climb as
high as 4 million by 2030. Many of these people are
without children, single, and often financially unstable due
to lack of access to a partner's Social Secutiy or pension
includes the LGBT people who came of age with the
profound social changes of the 1960s and 1970s," the San
Francisco Chronicle reported Gerard Koskovich
of the American Society on Aging as saying. "They took
part in the gay liberation movement when they were
young and they are moving toward old age with expectations
that are quite distinct from those of the previous
generation of LGBT people who grew up in an era when
discretion was the key to survival."
organizations for older queer people are emerging in major
urban centers in New York, California, and Florida,
LGBT seniors are often at higher risk for isolation,
financial difficulties and prejudice from caregivers.
Brian de Vries, a professor of gerontology (the study of
aging) at San Francisco State University, claims his
research indicates that nondisclosure of sexual
orientation is widespread and presents another
obstacle for LGBT seniors seeking reliable healthcare.
Berkeley Senior Center has become the first senior
organization in the Bay Area to earn the certification
of "LGBT friendly" by Lavender Seniors of the East
Bay, an LGBT senior group that hopes to compile a
nationwide directory of LGBT-friendly senior centers and
nursing homes. "So many of our seniors, especially the older
ones, have had negative experiences in health care
agencies or in community agencies like senior
centers," the Chronicle reported Lavender
Seniors director Barbara Faulkner as saying.
San Francisco has
taken a step in combating the devastating effects of
isolation and alienation facing the elderly LGBT population
through funding a social support organization that
promotes intergenerational dialogue and helps to keep
seniors an integral part of the LGBT community.
"I feel like he
is one of my professors, in a way" the
Chronicle reported 26 year-old Jimmy Ho speaking
about his program match Luis Oropeza, 63. "He has a
lot to teach me." (The Advocate)