Back when we were growing up no one was out. If you were out you probably was making your living from the street, you were probably were disowned by your family, you probably do not have any children of your own and now in your “sunset years” you are alone. Many LGBTQ+ go back in the closet in their “golden years.”
‘They Have No One’: At 88, a Transgender Icon Combats Loneliness Among SeniorsI know here in Connecticut we are doing something about that, we are looking for way to end the loneliness.
Samantha Flores, who created a community center in Mexico City for older L.G.B.T.Q. people that closed during the pandemic, is hoping to reopen it.
New York Times
By Oscar Lopez
April 2, 2021
MEXICO CITY — The pink paint of her stairwell is peeling, the black metal banister chipped, but Samantha Flores is as sharp-witted as ever amid a profusion of climbing plants and bursting red flowers.
At 88, the Mexican transgender icon remains elegant, funny and at times flirtatious, sitting at a small round table on the landing outside her tiny Mexico City flat where she has received callers, at a safe distance, throughout the pandemic.
After nearly nine decades as a socialite, a manager of a gay bar, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocate, and much more, Ms. Flores has a large community of longtime friends and neighbors who come knocking.
“Without my friends, I wouldn’t be who I am,” she said.
But as Ms. Flores well knows, many seniors are not so lucky. And so there is one part of her world that she’s aching to get back — the drop-in center she founded and runs to help older L.G.B.T.Q. adults combat their isolation. It was the first organization of its kind in Mexico.
We are not finding them friends but we are giving them the opportunity to get out of their home or long term care facilities.
“The older adult, in general, suffers from two things: loneliness and abandonment,” she said. “They are a nuisance to their family.”Back 2013 a movie was shown at the University of St. Joseph and a group LGBTQ+ seniors decided to do something to help other LGBTQ+ elders.
For older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, who came of age in a different era and might have been rejected by their relatives, the isolation can be even worse.
“They have no one, absolutely no one,” Ms. Flores said.
The movie was Gen Silent…
The group formed LGBT Aging Advocacy and have been working to educate senior healthcare providers to the needs of our community and they also created an initiative for senior centers to have programs for LGBTQ+ elders.
We are subject to a double dose of discrimination first in the nursing homes, the long term care facilities, and in the senior centers.
The second dose of discrimination comes from within the LGBTQ+ community by the younger generation.
I was at a “town hall” where we were discussing where we should be focusing our next legislation to end discrimination and I brought up the needs of the senior community, the loneliness, isolation, and the harassment in long term care facilities… then off to one side in a group of twenty something someone said, “OK Boomer” and everyone laughed! The moderators one of whom was from a national LGBTQ+ organization said nothing, absolutely nothing. I don’t know which was worst, that they didn’t recognized it age discrimination or that they knew it was it age discrimination and said nothing, but whatever it was I never went back to their meetings.