The need to address the dimension of aging in LGBTQ's social change processes has become evident only in recent years. Older LGBT people have been largely excluded from queer liberation movements over the years. However, the discourse on the implications of this exclusion remains quite limited. As a starting point, it can be argued that older LGBT people in most societies are exposed to a double stereotyping. They realize in their old age that they have to contend not only with stereotypes and prejudices towards them as LGBT, but also with the negative social construction of old age, rooted severely and profoundly within the gay community. To deepen the understanding of the unique reality and needs of older LGBT people, a three-year, group-oriented developmental process was conducted, in which gay men aged 60 to 75 participated. The special character of the lives of older gays, as emerged throughout this process, can be understood by looking at four main pivots: The family structure, isolation and loneliness; Understanding the historical context of LGBT identity; Aspects of coming out of the closet at an older age; Silencing of love and sexuality in the LGBT community at an older age. Addressing the wellbeing of older LGBT individuals on these issues requires bidirectional aging activism, which involves both empowering processes within LGBT communities, to promote their aging-friendliness – and taking part in the overall social change in relation to aging and old age.
Social Support Networks, Group processes, Older LGBTs, Aging activism
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Raphael Eppler Hattab
PhD Research Scholar, Department of Gerontology, University of Haifa