I welcome the efforts of support workers and staff to welcome and serve the LGBT communities. Of course, you have already been serving LGBT individuals since you started, but you may not have known it.
We are part of every community and we are a diverse group: able-bodied and differently-abled, black and white, Canadian born and new comer, well educated and not, English and French.
Our stories are unique and different form those of the mainstream.
That’s why “We treat everyone the same” is a non starter for us.
Older members of our communities lived much of their adult lives under a cloud of oppression. We were criminals up to 1969 when sexual relations between consulting same sex individuals was decriminalized.
We were perverts, sickos or mental health cases until homosexuality was removed from the listing of mental health conditions in 1968. We were discriminated against in employment and housing until the Human Rights codes of provinces and territories got around to incorporating sexual orientation as a grounds for discrimination. Sadly, we are still called sinners and abominations of God’s law by most religions traditions although in all such traditions there are small groups who stand up for LGBT rights.
Because of this history of oppression often experience internalized homophobia with negative consequences in our lives and health.
We tend to be more socially isolated, age alone and lack the support of family and children.
The news isn’t all bad. Were a resiliant bunch, managing the slings and arrows of aging better than our straight brothers and sisters. If you’ve been through what we’ve been through, you’re tough.
Dick Moore is an experienced educator re: older LGBT concerns & needs. He is the coordinator of Older Adult LGBTT at 519 Church St and has spent 9 years as director of Senior Services of TFS, 5 years as director of Older Adult Centre at St. Christopher House, and is Chair of the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee of the City of Port Colborne.