Monday, May 14, 2018

What Do You Think Of When You Hear Bullying?

No not Trump… even though he is a bully

Don’t you think of children on the playground or in schools?

What about senior centers? Do you think about bullying there?
Bullying a problem at senior centers nationwide
The Press Democrat
By Matt Sedensky AP
May 12, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO — The unwanted were turned away from cafeteria tables. Fistfights broke out at karaoke. Dances became breeding grounds for gossip and cruelty.

It became clear this place had a bullying problem on its hands. What many found surprising was that the perpetrators and victims alike were all senior citizens.

Nursing homes, senior centers and housing complexes for the elderly have introduced programs, training and policies aimed at curbing spates of bullying, an issue once thought the exclusive domain of the young.

“There’s the clique system just like everywhere else,” said Betsy Gran, who until recently was assistant director at San Francisco’s 30th Street Senior Center. “It’s like ‘Mean Girls,’ but everyone is 80.”
There is far less recognition of bullying as a problem among seniors compared with young people. Even among those who have been called bullies, many are unaware how problematic their behavior is until it’s labeled. Campaigns around the country have sought to spread the word, including a booklet circulated last year by the National Center for Assisted Living.
Most senior bullying isn’t physical but rather involves name-calling, rumors and exclusion, said Pamela Countouris, a longtime schoolteacher who now runs a Pittsburgh-based consultancy that offers training on bullying. Women constitute the bulk of the bullies Countouris encounters among seniors, a reflection of lifespan disparities and the gender makeup of those who live at or participate in programs at senior facilities.
So what does this have to with us, LGBT seniors?
In the worst cases, bullying goes far beyond bingo squabbles. Marsha Wetzel moved into a senior apartment complex in Niles, Illinois, after her partner of 30 years died and her partner’s family evicted her from the home the couple shared. At Glen St. Andrew Living Community, she said she was met with relentless bullying by residents mostly focused on her being a lesbian.

One man hit Wetzel’s scooter with his walker and unleashed a barrage of homophobic slurs. A woman rammed her wheelchair into Wetzel’s table in the dining room and knocked it over, warning “homosexuals will burn in hell.” In the mailroom, someone knocked her in the head, and in an elevator, she was spit on.
Our generation hid most of their lives and they are the generation that fought for our rights, unfortunately it was against the same generation that they are now housed with that they fought.

Most people don’t even think about harassment in senior centers, long term care facilities or senior housing but it is a growing problem in those facilities that has to be addressed now.

I can just imagine what prosecutors will think if they had a case of an eighty year old straight person attacking a 80 year old trans person? Will they prosecute the person for a hate crime or would they just try to make the case go away?

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