Longer Synopsis-CMP

Our group project focuses on issues faced by aging lesbian,gay,bisexual,transgendered and intersex (LGBTI) people. Of particular interest are the unique challenges confronting aging members of the LGBT community. With an estimated 72.1 million persons aged 65 or older by 2030 (Ogden, 2012), it is essential that this population receives quality elder-care. This qualitative study involves interviews with eight gay men, comprised of two couples and four single men, across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The data gathered through the interviews was coded using grounded theory, which aims to generate or discover a theory based on the information obtained from the interviews (Calman, 2006). Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that the areas of greatest concern to LGBT elders in this study is not quality health care nor culturally-competent medical professionals, as the bulk of previous literature suggests. Rather, elders are primarily concerned with social support networks and broader social change. Individuals interviewed expressed concern about maintaining connections or being supported within the direct community, while couples were primarily concerned with legal rights, such as spousal benefits and pension transference, on a federal level. Aging members of the LGBT community who have faced stigmatism, discrimination or have been marginalized throughout their life would benefit from an environment that supports diversity and institutional changes designed to meet their distinctive needs. The findings in this study have implications that could benefit elder-care advocates, diversity awareness groups or policy-makers interested in equal protection.