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In the current time more, people have “come out” and identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer intersex or non-conforming. We find a large population of seniors that identify other than heterosexual in this current day and time.
The US Gallup poll reports that between 2012 and 2017 there was a 4.5% rise in the LGBT population. These “LGBT estimates are based on those respondents who say ‘yes’ when asked, ‘Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?’ (see insert graph 1a).
The census report estimate is of adults 18 and older in the U.S. suggests that there are more than 11 million adults that identify as Lesbian, Gay, B-sexual, Transgender, Queer or other in the country from the time this report was published.
However, currently there are minimum to no reported data on how many seniors, people over the age of 60 that identify as LGBT or Q. Studies of LGBT older individuals are typically not large enough to provide data into the diversity on the lives of LGBT thus, many gaps exist of LGBT older adults’ population.
New York City has the largest population of LGBT people in the country—estimated at more than 340,000. Many LGBT people are not willing to identify as such to pollsters and census-takers, however, because of homophobic and transphobic discrimination, stigma, and shame. The actual size of the LGBT community in the City is, accordingly, likely considerably larger, with this knowledge it is difficult to provide accurate information about the demographic and other characteristics of this population.
(Legal Service NYC, 2016, January).
LGBT identified seniors and heterosexual older adults are diverse regarding many characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability status. Furthermore, when looking at the LGBT senior community we must also factor in their sexuality, sexual identity and gender or gender reassignment. These added factors and previous experiences in the earlier lives add a second level of factors when determining how and where they will live in their “golden years”.
As LGBT individuals age, they face unique challenges that their heterosexual peers do not. Aside from the challenges that all older adults face, such as physical limitations and changes in socioeconomic status or relationships, LGBT older adults confront discrimination from entities that are traditionally relied upon for support, such as legal and financial barriers, to preparing for older. A 2001 Administration on Aging study found that LGBT older adults are 20% less likely than their heterosexual peers to access government services such as housing assistance, meal programs, food stamps, and other government provided services. Furthermore, there is currently a large population of LGBT older adults that are not married or have children that could take care of them or live with as they age. Isolation and fear of loneliness are major concerns of LGBT older individuals because of previous statement.
One of the most important decisions we make as older adults is where we’re going to live during our senior years. For all older adults, affordability is often a challenge. For LGBT older adults, so is finding a place that’s welcoming—where they can feel free to be themselves and be treated respectfully and compassionately.
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