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June 5, 2015

State, federal resources available for LGBT seniors

New Haven Register
By Connecticut LTCOP

Among those who are aging is the growing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. It is conservatively estimated more than 3 million LGBT people in the U.S. are 55 and older. In Connecticut, there are about 21,000 adults age 62 or older, which will grow close to 36,000 in the next decade.

While many needs of the LGBT community are identical to those who are not LGBT, this community has experienced differences in their life that affect their engagement in the senior service system, including stigma and discrimination. Even though many social gains have been made in this era of "marriage equality," the historical and often contemporary experience of discrimination means that many LGBT persons are distrustful of the service system and reluctant to seek services. This results in a higher risk of social isolation.

Significant efforts are underway nationally and in Connecticut to respond to these facts and to work with service providers to provide open and affirming services. Nationally, the key resource is the National Center for LGBT Aging,

Available on the National LGBT Center for Aging website is a recent study commissioned by SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). The study, Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, Ages 45-75, outlines some of the different experiences that affect LGBT seniors, and how the senior service community can resolve to change them.

Findings in the study conclude several key areas of interest for this growing community.

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