Currently, there are more than 2.7 million LGBT adults aged 50 or older (nearly one third of all LGBT adults). Here is a story about Tina and Jackie who were born the same year in the same town. Despite similar beginnings, their lives take very different turns…
Aging as LGBT: two stories
Tina and Jackie were born in 1947. In 1967, Tina meets Frank. And Jackie meets Frances.
Jackie was bullied and harassed at school, her grades suffered, and she was unable to obtain a scholarship to attend college. She started work at a factory, but was fired when her boss saw her and Frances together.
Jackie was not permitted to create a legal relationship with Frances, or Frances’ son, meaning that Jackie had no one who could make medical or financial decisions for her, despite relying on them for care as she aged.
Fast forward to today, and Jackie, like so many other older adults, struggles with financial insecurity, social isolation, and overall lack of health and well-being, simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).
Unfortunately, Jackie’s story isn’t unique. As America’s population rapidly ages, so too do LGBT adults.
Understanding issues facing LGBT older adults
A new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and SAGE sheds light on the needs and experiences of LGBT older adults. Many LGBT elders have survived and thrived despite a lifetime of obstacles and discrimination, while others struggle with the burdens of poverty and social isolation.
The report finds that health and wellbeing, economic security, and social connections are among the cornerstones for successful aging, yet these are areas in which many LGBT elders face substantial barriers.
All older adults have a right to dignity and support as they age, including LGBT elders like Jackie.
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