This paper contains an analysis of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community, specifically, the effect aging has on adult members of the community. The paper examines the challenges they face, how they deal with them and the various organization that has been established to assist them to embrace this stage of their lives. This paper also contains the experience of some of the members of the community who have experienced the effect of aging while being part of an exclusive community.
The term LGBT stands for some distinct groups within the gay community. This community comprises of Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. More widely it includes organizations and individuals who support the rights of these people. In this paper, we narrow down to the LGBT people only. Minority groups always face challenges in various aspects of life and aging is no exception. Although there have been problems in obtaining statistics on the size of the community, it is a fast growing one. As the proportion of America’s older population is growing, so is the number of (LGBT) adults who are going into their earlier years. In some decades, the number of LGBT adults of 65 years and above is expected to double and reach more than 3 million by 2030 (Adams, 2011).
The experience of aging in the LGBT community as described by a member of this community highlights various challenges they face. In a letter to Steven Petrow, the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners” and a columnist for the New York Times, a 59-year-old male decries being friendless having lost almost all his friends to death and retirement. He feels like an outsider despite living in an area with a relatively large gay community and finds no connection on social media either. Despite his urge to go out dancing from time to time, he feels uncomfortable because he would not fit in and spends most of his time at home (Petrow, 2013). [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Obviously, access to health care is a major challenge. While their heterosexual counterparts receive care from their families, gay people may face hostility from not only family members but also health care providers. The fear of discrimination also makes them shy away from seeking proper health care (Adams, 2011). This coupled up with the high rate of HIV/AIDS infection in this community means not many members survive to old age, compared to their heterosexual counterparts. The situation is made worse by the fact that some LGBT unions are not recognized by law in some states meaning partners cannot be granted leave to take care of their ailing partners. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Financial insecurity is worse for homosexual adults than heterosexual adults, not only is there a possibility of employment discrimination which hinders their saving capacity for old age, but also state laws may shut one out of access to their partner’s inheritance or require them to pay very high taxes (Adams, 2011).
Finally, social isolation, which is a challenge faced by all aging populations, is worse for members of the LGBT community because more often than not they do not feel welcome in many places where older people socialize such as religious centers. The effects of this isolation include depression, poor nutrition, delayed care-seeking and premature mortality (Adams, 2011).
While some are dealing with these challenges by complete avoidance of the underlying issues, others are making an effort at coping while others are successfully coping with aging by building close-knit social support systems. Efforts are being made to address these challenges. Resources such as the federally funded National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has been created to enable training of aging care providers to allow them to care for elderly LGBT people. The LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) is has been established as a subdivision of the American Society on Aging and raises awareness on the unique experiences of the elderly LGBT community members regarding access to healthcare and other services. Other examples of organizations addressing the issue of aging in the LGBT community are FORGE Transgender aging network and several LGBT rights activists. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Adams, M. (2011). AARP Pride: The Biggest Issues Facing Older LGBT Americans — AARP.
Petrow, S. (2013, March 19). A Gay Man at Midlife Ponders Being Lonely and Invisible