Why LGBT Aging?

Why is LGBT aging different from aging in the non-LGBT community?

First and foremost, LGBT aging is different because today's LGBT population of seniors grew up in a dramatically different society. Defining seniors as 65+ years of age, it is likely that many of these older adults "came out" at a time when homosexuality was both illegal and still considered to be a mental illness. Further, many worked at time when discovery of sexual orientation could result in loss of a job. As such LGBT seniors today have likely experienced stigma and discrimination over the life-course.

While many LGBT seniors have enjoyed some of the progress made in regards to the advancement of human rights and inclusion, there is still much work to be done. In the present day many formal organizations have employed the blanket term "inclusive to all" but this has not adequately served the LGBT population. As a result, LGBT seniors may experience barriers to the health care such as delaying or avoiding treatment when an LGBT-friendly doctor cannot be found. Further down the road when it comes time for assisted living or extended care, LGBT seniors fear that they will have to go back into the closet to access facilities.

In addition to these structural barriers, statistical data also reveals some additional challenges present in LGBT aging. For example, LGBT seniors are more likely than the general population to live aloneand they typically have less support from biological families. While far from complete, this brief introduction illuminates the need for continued research and the development of resources that are LGBT friendly.

Vibrant Living and Lifestyle Sytems INC 2012