Main | Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Tough To Be Old And Gay

Aging is tough on everybody, but particularly for senior LGBT people, who face unique financial and social challenges. Via CNN:
According to the report, Improving the Lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults, issues that disproportionately affect LGBT older adults include stigma, isolation and unequal treatment. Together, they translate into their being poorer and sicker and having fewer opportunities for social and community engagement than do their heterosexual peers, according to the report. Many older LGBTs' financial woes can be traced to the fact that discrimination was legal during their working lives, which often meant thinner paychecks, limited access to health care, fewer chances to build pensions and smaller Social Security payments, the report said.

For example, lesbian couples' Social Security benefits are typically 31.5 percent smaller and gay couples' benefits are 17.8 percent smaller than are those of heterosexual couples, the report said, citing a 2009 study. Family members provide about 80 percent of long-term care in the United States, but that's not the case with LGBT elders, since they are more likely to be single, childless and estranged from their biological families, said the report. Instead, many of them wind up relying on friends and the community, so-called families of choice, it said.
CNN did a great job with the article, which you should read, right up until the final paragraph when they quote the Family Research Council's Peter Spriggs, whom they note is "unmoved" by the plight of elderly gays: "Some of these problems that they face are the result of their own choices. In other words, the fact that they choose not to marry based on how society defines the institution of marriage leaves them without the support that married people have."

Labels: , , ,

comments powered by Disqus