For the first time leading campaign group Age Concern are addressing the specific needs
of older homosexuals. They believe that these needs are often ignored by existing
voluntary organisations and statutary welfare services.
Gordon Lishman, Age Concern England's Director General, says: "The situation for most
lesbian and gay people at the beginning of the 21st century is more positive, secure and
affirming than at any time in our history. However, the majority of older people have
lived a large part of their lives in less liberal times. Although much has changed to
encourage greater trust and understanding, there are still barriers to break down and many
doors yet to be opened."
Age Concern say that at the very least one in fifteen users of their services are
exclusively homosexual. As part of their campaign to bring about positive changes
in the way older homosexuals are treated, they've published a resource pack called
"Opening Doors sets the current scene within organisational culture and tries to turn
increasingly positive attitudes into equally positive action", says Gordon Lishman. "It should give a clear signal
to agencies working with and for older people, to the lesbian and gay movement, and to
older lesbians and gay men themselves."
The pack deals with issues like language, respecting privacy and consulting older
lesbians and gay men. Age Concern England will also be hosting a national conference on the
needs of older lesbians and gay men next February. You can get more details about the
resource pack on the Age Concern website