gay seniors

What To Do When You’re Gay, Old, and Don’t Trust the Health Care Industry

Know what sucks? When you spend your younger years fighting for gay rights and just trying to survive as a homo in the early 20th century, then grow up to discover your body isn’t as strong as it once was — and are too fearful of America’s discriminatory health care industry that you end up dying alone instead of seeking help. From director Stu Maddux comes Gen Silent, shining a light on an altogether neglected segment of GLBTs: Seniors, many of them without kids to care for them in their older years, who were taught to run from hospitals, not to them.

(Thanks, Sarah!)

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  • Matt

    What To Do When You’re Gay, Old, and Don’t Trust the Health Care Industry?

    Well I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ll probably die.

  • Tim in SF

    Wow, Queerty, thank you for posting this.

  • dm73

    Thank goodness for groups like SAGE. It’s something to fight all your life and then be mired with the very people you fought against to provide you proper healthcare in your “golden” years. A real shame.

  • Stu Maddux

    We have been working closely with the LGBT Aging Project in Boston on this film. Thanks Lisa Krinsky and Bob Linscott!

  • Kid A

    @Matt: HURR DURRR

    Anyway, great post Queerty, thanks.

  • galefan2004

    The health care problem isn’t just an issue for gays when they are older. It is an issue for them their entire life. If you are not on a domestic partner registry (or if your state does not have a domestic partner registry) then you can be denied entrance to your partner’s hospital room if the family decides you shouldn’t have entrance. Power of attorney and visitation rights if often trumped by laws that recognize the next of kin as having sole rights in the matter no matter what legal documents exist.

  • j

    Wow, I need to go watch this. I hope it’s free as I have no way of purchasing it. Amazing post regardless.

  • Andrew

    We Americans treat all elderly folks like shit. We ignore them or patronize them or stuff them away in crappy nursing homes until they die. We certainly don’t learn from them or seek their considerable wisdom. Older gay folks have it even worse. At least we’re starting to see gray-gay housing pop up here and there.

  • Fitz

    @galefan2004: And even if your state does have DP, when you travel– your screwed. AND there hasn’t (to my knowledge) been a real legal test of DP registry Vs. Family of Origin case.

  • Helga von ornstein

    This really hit home for me. I went to the hospital with kidney stones and the pain I went through was insufferable. A gay couple who were there was the talk of the room out of earshot.

    I thought about what would happen to me if for some reason I found myself old, alone, and at the mercy of some sanctimonious or just outright evil nursing home workers. It was scary indeed.

    I shall be there on opening night.

  • galefan2004

    I just wanted to draw attention to the website for this video seeing you have to watch the whole video to see it. This is a great cause that should be championed.

    The website is

  • galefan2004

    @Andrew: I disagree that we (collectively, as in all of us) treat old people like shit. You have no idea how many loved ones came on a daily basis to the nursing home where I used to work. Also, it was far from a crappy nursing home as the staff actually cared very much about the patients. I’m not going to claim that there aren’t crappy nursing homes and kids that only show up when mom or dad just died to fight over the inheritance though.

  • galefan2004

    @Helga von ornstein: You should be reporting this to the supervisors of that place. By law, ANY personal details about a patient are not allowed to be discussed by anyone not directly discussing them with the patient. So, every single bigoted asshole that decided to run their mouth that day should lose their job and their license.

  • strumpetwindsock

    There was a story in the news here not too long ago about a straight couple who were being thrown out of their church-run residence because they were not married. I can’t remember how it finally got resolved, I think they threatened to take it to the Human Rights Commission and the home caved, but not everyone has that kind of energy and resources.

    If straights run into shit like that imagine how much worse it must be for older gay couples.

  • TANK


    So…what do you do, old salt?

  • Andrew

    Point taken. However, I didn’t say anything negative about caregivers. And yes, of course there are nice nursing homes and many people out there who do care about the elderly. So… I’ll rephrase: Broadly speaking, American society poorly handles many matters of concern to the elderly, often fails to treat them with full dignity, and fails to draw from their wisdom and experience. Compared to many other nations/societies, we get dismal grades when it comes to the elderly.

  • strumpetwindsock


    I’ll let you know when I actually get to an age at which that is a concern. Last time I was in a hospital was when I got my tonsils out as a kid. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about a health care “industry” draining my bank account if I ever get sick.

    But why are you asking me? you never believe anything I say anyway.

    You’ll be in the market for bifocals and a walker soon enough yourself, and then I expect you’ll be complaining about all the young whippersnappers who don’t know anything.

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