If you survived HIV, circuit parties, and the nonstop gauntlet of bashers to make it into old age, congratulations—you’ve become an old queer! Now are you ready for harassment by nursing home orderlies and the crushing effects of loneliness that typically awaits gay and lesbian seniors? Well get ready.
A group commissioned by the UK gay rights group Stonewall UK just conducted a survey into the lives of LGB seniors and found some pretty depressing facts:
- Older gay and bisexual men are three times more likely than heterosexual men to live alone.
- 90 percent of older heterosexual people have kids compared to 25 percent of gay and bisexual men and 50 percent of lesbians and bisexual women (thus, gays, lesbos, and bis have fewer relatives to bum money from and to hit up for free room and board)
- LGB older people are more likely to be single and less likely to see their families regularly; partially because lots of families still reject their gay family members (thanks, dad).
- 50 percent of older LGB people feel uncomfortable coming out to care home staff: Who wants some 30 to 50 year old nurse calling them a “fag-a-muffin” or a “dusty lez,” especially when these people provide sponge baths and medication?
All these factors can contribute to “loneliness in old age” which is also linked to depression, immune and cardio-vascular health problems and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Christ.
We’ve suggested five must-have amenities for any LGBT retirement home, but as we’ve just started collecting data on the health needs of LGBT people, it may take some time for the retirement community to catch up.
Maybe some older gays and organizations like Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE) can step in and help bring American nursing care facilities up to speed.
Image via vivevans