Time to Shine has always had a focus on older people who may face various forms of discrimination, like older LGBTQ+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer plus others). We have been working on the assumption that these groups may face issues which can make it more likely for them to face isolation and loneliness in their later years and may also encounter additional and/or different barriers. This has been confirmed in our conversations with older LGBTQ+ people and in the small amount of research which has already been done.
There is a need however to find out more about the barriers and effective strategies to support older LGBTQ+ people, especially as this group is made up of a range of people whose life experiences, cultures and the discrimination they encounter varies enormously. The lived experience of an older gay man is often very different to that of an older lesbian, a bisexual person or trans person, although there is also some common ground.
It seems that the academic world has engaged with these issues and there is a lot of research and investigation going on all over the UK. Jude Woods and Susan Phillips have recently attended events in London and York where some of this research was shared.
Some of the themes being explored (all in a LGBTQ+ context) include gay and bisexual men ageing with HIV, bisexual identities, health inequalities, dementia, end of life care, older men facing isolation and social networks among older women. (Please contact Jude Woods, details below, if you would a list of these research projects.)
It is great to see that so much interesting work is going on. The findings of these investigations will help us in our work with these communities, as the information becomes available.
Time to Shine Communities Officer
0113 244 1697