Pioneering safe & inclusive LGBT+ specific retirement accommodation. Exploring models in the USA, UK, & Spain


With significant advances in equal rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens, achieved across the western world during the past few decades, one group that continues to be overlooked is LGBT elders. This article examines the unique discrimination and homophobia faced by older LGBT people living in nursing and residential care homes. It investigates ways in which these environments construct and perpetuate heteronormativity by addressing the needs of heterosexual residents, while at the same time, failing to meet the specific preferences of their LGBT residents. The assumption of heterosexuality in residential care is the ‘norm’ whereby non-normative sexualities are negated. For those considering long-term care, the fear of alienation and having to go back into the ‘closet’ is of profound concern. The argument most frequently presented to counter this is training managers and care staff to deliver non-discriminatory health and social care practices, targeting the unique needs of LGBT residents. However, from within the gay community has come a solution to end the type of homophobic behavior often encountered in mainstream care environments. This has seen the radical and sometimes controversial growth in alternative forms of retirement housing for gay older adults, in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and across Europe. This article explores these schemes, taking into account criticism that deems such positive discrimination is contrary to the principles of equality legislation and the spirit of social inclusion.


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