A groundbreaking new report released by Services and Advocacy Group for LGBTQ Elders (SAGE) is giving us a better understanding of the needs and concerns of this community.
The new report, Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults, Ages, 45-75, is a uniquely comprehensive qualitative study based on a national survey of more than 1,800 LGBTQ older adults that measures the challenges this community continues to face. The report documents alarming disparities in economic security, housing discrimination, and health care among LGBTQ older adults. For example, the report reveals that one in eight LGBTQ older adults and one in four transgender older adults say that they have been discriminated against when searching for housing on the basis of their sexual orientations or gender identities. Forty-four percent of LGBTQ older people are very or extremely concerned that they will have to work well beyond retirement age in order to have enough money to live on, as compared to twenty-six percent of non-LGBTQ people. And forty percent of LGBTQ older people in their 60s and 70s are afraid to disclose their sexual orientation to healthcare providers out of fear of discrimination.
The unfortunate reality is that despite the advances we have made in LGBTQ equality, LGBTQ elders remain one of the most vulnerable populations in our community. As an organization that seeks to improve the lives of those who are most marginalized in the LGBTQ community, NCLR is dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBTQ older adults. We provide assistance to LGBTQ elders through targeted initiatives. And we have worked with city agencies to address the needs of LGBTQ elders of color. LGBTQ advocates have been working to improve the lives of LGBTQ elders by gaining a better understanding of the needs and concerns of this community. Currently there are 3 million LGBTQ adults age 55 or older and this population is rapidly growing. So it is important that we takes steps as a movement to intentionally incorporate LGBTQ elder issues in our advocacy work. Out and Visible will be an essential tool to help provide the LGBTQ elder community with the support they need and deserve.