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social sciences

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For an older adult whose anatomy does not correspond with his or her gender identity, privacy is tremendously important. This means that medical care requiring one to undress may, even in an emergency, be refused, and all of the caveats regarding in-home care and long-term facilities may have yet more dire consequences for the transgender elder.

It is crucial that anyone working in the field of aging develop a further understanding of transgender concerns. Ideally, that understanding will begin to spread to the general public.

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As the population of glbtq elders expands, one can expect that research on this community will increase and additional resources made available. Fortunately, a number of organizations dedicated to providing much-needed services and information--along with socialization and activism opportunities--to glbtq senior citizens have emerged recently, ranging from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), Pride Senior Network, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC), Prime Timers, and the Transgender Aging Network. These groups can help provide a sense of safety and empowerment for sexual minority elders--something not always provided by mainstream seniors' organizations.

While they currently number only a handful, retirement homes and facilities catering specifically to glbtq seniors are likely to be developed on a larger scale. If such facilities meet the special needs and concerns of the glbtq elderly, they may become an important community resource.

Many aspects of the aging process are universal; however, until acceptance of glbtq people becomes commonplace, awareness of the issues affecting glbtq seniors in particular needs to be promoted both within and outside of the queer community.

Teresa Theophano

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social sciences >> Overview:  Ageism

Discrimination on the basis of age is a serious problem in most demographic groups, including the glbtq communities.

social sciences >> Overview:  Civil Union

Vermont's Civil Union law conferred all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage on same-sex couples.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Family

Many glbtq people reject a fixed definition of family imposed by society, and instead claim the right to define their own families as they choose.

social sciences >> Overview:  Grief Resources

There are many excellent resources, both general and specifically tailored for glbtq individuals, which can assist in the process of healing after a bereavement or other major loss.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Seniors' Resources

As the aging population has grown, more organizations have emerged that are dedicated to providing much-needed services and information, along with socialization and activism opportunities, to glbtq senior citizens.

social sciences >> Overview:  Social Work

Since the 1990s, Social Work has slowly become a more glbtq-friendly profession.

social sciences >> Meigs, Mary

An American-born painter who emigrated to Canada, the artist Mary Meigs is best known for her literary contributions and her feminist activism on behalf of elderly lesbians.


Berger, Raymond M. "The Unseen Minority: Older Gays and Lesbians." Social Work 27.3 (1982): 236-242.

Cook-Daniels, Loree. "Lesbian, Gay Male, Bisexual and Transgendered Elders: Elder Abuse and Neglect Issues." 2002.

Davidson, Darcy, and J.D. Kansas. "Issues Facing Elderly Gay Men and Lesbians." 2001.

Kaplan, Barry J. "Gay Elders Face Uncomfortable Realities in LTC." 2002.

Quam, J. K. "Gay and Lesbian Aging." SIECUS Report 21.5 (1993): 10-12.

South, Rev. Ken. "GLBT Elders and Public Policy: An Overview." 2000.

Woolf, Linda M. "Gay and Lesbian Aging." 1998.


    Citation Information
    Author: Theophano, Teresa  
    Entry Title: Aging  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated April 11, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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