Today's LGBT seniors have lived through periods of wholesale rejection and condemnation from all segments of society. They have been labeled "illegal" by the State, "immoral" by the religious community, and "mentally ill," by the medical and mental health establishments.
In spite of this marginalization, many of our LGBT seniors were and are social, artistic and political pioneers. They were key in creating a unique and distinct LGBT culture, celebrating the LGBT identity, non-traditional family structures and more varied gender expression. They built LGBT community-based organizations, promoted LGBT cultural expression through writing, music, the performing and visual arts, and organized to reform homophobic laws, institutions and practices, educating the public about our issues.
If you are one of these seniors, you have dealt with homophobia for decades. And you can use the same strategies to deal with "ageism." You can bring your learning experiences to younger generations. Many LGBT seniors have remained "single," but have built support networks of friends, family and past lovers that enrich their lives and provide caregiving assistance. And those who have been in loving relationships for decades despite not having been recognized by laws, are in the forefront of advocacy for changes in laws that recognize domestic partners.
We applaud those LGBT seniors who take an active part in the changes that are being wrought. And we encourage all LGBT people, regardless of age, to become active in the movement to bring about equal care and treatment for LGBT seniors. They have done so much for us; it's time we did much for them. (See the RESOURCES link for organizations and agencies where you can go to offer help.)
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The information provided by Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc. is for educational purposes only and is not intended to render medical advice or professional services. The information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease and is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your healthcare provider.
Rainbow Access Initiative is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
These materials were produced through a grant from the New York State Department of Health.
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