While popular media often focuses on the increasing number of young people identifying as LGBTQ, recent work by AARP is highlighting the history of the LGBTQ movement -- from our pioneers who led the way to the ongoing need to support LGBTQ older adults.
“The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising feels like a good time to take stock of how far we’ve come and how far we must go to ensure that all LGBT older adults are free to be their whole selves, in every community under the rainbow, without fear of any kind of discrimination,” said Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, AARP Senior Advisor & National LGBT Liaison. “AARP is proud to do our part to advance and maintain the dignity of all of our members.”
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age, with nearly 38 million members nationwide. An estimated 900,000 of AARP’s members identify as LGBT.
Last fall, AARP worked with Next Day Better to help produce the #LivingHistory project, a storytelling series honoring past, present and future heroes of the LGBTQ movement. The first video in the series chronicles the history of the LGBTQ movement in the U.S. and highlights prominent LGBTQ figures such as Walt Whitman, Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk and Laverne Cox.
In 2017, AARP conducted a national survey of more than 1,700 LGBT people, collaborating with Community & Marketing Insights. Based on the compelling findings, AARP published a report in March 2018 called “Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans.”
One of the most notable findings revealed that 76 percent of older LGBT Americans reported concern about having adequate family and/or social supports to rely on as they age. Race also plays a strong role in how older Americans are treated: 37 percent of Black respondents and 25 percent of Latinx respondents reported being very concerned about abuse in long-term care, compared to 19 percent of white respondents. In addition, 56 percent of Black respondents and 49 percent of Latinx respondents reported being very or extremely concerned about having adequate family and/or social supports to rely on as they age, compared to 30 percent of white respondents.
What can you do to support LGBTQ older people? According to AARP’s research, it starts with long-term care facilities designed to be welcoming for LGBTQ adults. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents reported wanting LGBTQ-trained providers, and 85 percent said that they want providers that are also LGBTQ. A majority of respondents also want facilities to include advertising for LGBTQ-friendly services, including LGBTQ-inclusive signs displayed on site.
To learn more about the work of AARP’s work with LGBTQ people, visit aarp.org/pride.