Monday, February 13, 2012

“It's Not Easy Being Green.”

To quote Kermit the Frog, or for us… “It's not easy being trans” especially when you grow old. There are a lot of studies about the elderly LGB community and the effects of aging, but I do not know study that covered the aging trans community. There is some data on elderly trans-people but that data was only collected as part of an overall transgender study and was just a sub-set of the study.

I can’t say that I think about it all the time, but I do think about it. Suppose i want to sell my house and move into an over-55 community, how would I be accepted there? If I had to go into a nursing home in what ward would they put me? Would they follow the law and put me in a women’s ward or would I have to fight for my rights? How would the staff treat me? These are all the questions that I have thought about.

When my aunt was in a nursing home, it was during my transition and I had to tell my aunt about my transition, the nursing home was very supportive. I met with the nursing home manager and social worker beforehand and we came up with a game plan. On Friday I talked with my aunt about my transition and the nursing home had the social worker there with us and also that day the nursing home had a meeting of the supervisors about my transition. on Monday before I came in the afternoon as Diana the nursing home had a meeting of all the staff and told them that I would be coming in as Diana. So the whole transition went smoothly, but I always wondered what would it have been like if I was the patient.

There was an article in the Rainbow Times the aging LGBT populations…
LGBT Seniors Going Back into the Closet
Rainbow Times
Feb 03, 2012

Alarming Challenges of LGBT Senior Population is Focus of New Awareness Campaign
More than a third of the two million LGBT seniors in our nation are clinically depressed, according More than a third of the two million LGBT seniors in our nation report depression and one half have a known disability, according to the recent federally funded Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults. “It’s the tip of the financial, legal, and emotional iceberg facing our most under-served population, which will double by 2030,” says James Huysman, PsyD, LCSW the CEO of International Caregiver Network (ICN), whose company is competing to become one of the top ten TED Ads Worth Spreading Award honorees and is asking users to support this vital mission through an online voting campaign.
If you read Executive Summary of the report you will find that all most of the report is dedicated LGB with very little research data on the trans-community. In the study out of over 2500 in the survey only 174 were transgender, that is not a lot “T” in the study.

The article goes on to say…
Some of the other findings in the landmark study that are cited include that almost two thirds have been victimized 3 or more times, more than 20% do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to their physician, and about one third do not have a will or durable power of attorney for healthcare. For the full study go to the Caring and Aging with Pride project website.
The article and the study says “LGBT” throughout, but what they really mean is LGB. When they talk about the findings of the study they talk about lesbians and gays with no mention about the “Ts”. An example of this is in the report,
Health disparities revealed
Higher rates of disability were found among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults, compared with heterosexuals of similar age utilizing state-level population-based information (BRFSS-WA). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults experience higher rates of mental distress and are more likely to smoke and engage in excessive drinking than heterosexuals. Lesbians and bisexual older women report higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity than heterosexual women, and gay and bisexual older men are more likely to have poor physical health than their heterosexual counterparts.
Hmmm… where’s the “T”? But in the paragraph above it said…
Next, to better understand the risk and protective factors impacting LGBT older adults, we collaborated with eleven community-based agencies across the country serving LGBT older adults to conduct the first national project on LGBT aging and health.
What gets me is how can they say LGBT when there is very little data about the “T”.

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