Scroll To Top
Health

Groups push for
recognition of LGBT aging issues

Groups push for
recognition of LGBT aging issues

Though often 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 benefits.

"This generation 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."

Although 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.

The North 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)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories