June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month nationally. This month was chosen because in June 1969 there was an “uprising” at the Stonewall Inn in NY, that sparked a liberation movement. These initials represent Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and allies as well as other ways of identifying sexual identity.
A quote from Sharon Salzburg seems appropriate: “we don’t need one another to fear; we do need one another to change.” Together we can acknowledge and embrace the fight for inclusion and acceptance and equal access to services, as Governor Northam reminded us last year.
We care about those in greatest need. SAGE and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging have presented some statistics that drive home why this is an area of need:
• Nationally, there are 3 Million people identifying as LGBT over the age of 50, and it is projected that there will be 7 Million by 2030.
• 2x more likely to be single or live alone.
• 4x less likely to have children to provide support.
• 34% worry that they will need to hide their identify to access senior housing.
• 53% feel isolated from others.
• As caregivers, 21% of older LGBT people have provided care to friends, compared to only 6% of non-LGBT older adults.
• LGBT people become caregivers at a higher rate and make up 9% of all caregivers in the US.
• Overall they are more likely to face poverty, homelessness and have poor physical and mental health.
These statistics highlight the issues that we address with all seniors. Isolation, living alone, fewer with family to provide encouragement or support. And overlay that with the added fear of being honest about one’s identity, and having experienced victimization in their lifetime (two-thirds of LGBT adults have had this experience at least three times already in their life). At JABA we have services and support that will help LGBT older adults achieve equity to age in a community of their choice.