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Diedra is a New Yorker. She calls the house home today.

Located in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood, the building is New York City’s first LGBTQIA+ friendly senior housing complex.

It was developed in partnership with SAGE, the world’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for LGBTQ+ older adults.

It was important for her to find a home that would allow her to live in dignity and feel respected in her queer identity.

“If you don’t like living in a certain area or are not comfortable, then you can be sad. She moved to Seattle and was depressed. There is no place like home.”

“Many older people in the area don’t live in the same situation as the current one inNottingham.”

Many older LGBTQIA+ adults face housing insecurity, abuse, discrimination, and negative mental and physical health outcomes.

In addition, greater health disparities exist between white people and People of Color as well as between those who are cisgender and those who are trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive older adults.

Older queer people are often overlooked in a culture that focuses on the realities of youth. The concerns that mark their day-to-day lives are often overlooked.

Like most people, the city ofNottingham has had ups and downs.

In her youth, she experienced physical and sexual abuse. At times she’s also experienced homelessness. A recurring theme has been moments of feeling like she doesn’t belong and isn’t accepted due to her sexuality.

There have been many positive moments.

Nottingham remembers taking her daughter to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and watching her first steps.

She is happy to be back in a supportive home that gives her a safe place to call her own.

After facing homophobic harassment from other tenants in her building,Nottingham moved to Stonewall House in early 2020.

Nottingham says that he was not comfortable in most of the apartments he lived in. People would look at us when we walked up and down the block.

She was able to get housing in the Brooklyn SAGE building with the help of a social worker.

She says that when it is your own kind of people, you can walk down the street in peace.

It is a big change from the previous experiences.

I say God bless him, still today. She says that he got her in. We can have a place to live. I am so happy I have been able to see all of this.

“When it’s your own kind of people, you can walk down the street in peace.”

Diedra is fromNottingham

There are currently about 2.7 million adults in the United States ages 50 or older who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

That number is expected to climb to more than 5 million by 2060, according to data from the Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, Sexuality/Gender Study, the first longitudinal study of LGBT older adults.

This ongoing landmark study is the first and most comprehensive attempt to understand the realities of this population of older Americans.

Researchers have followed 2,450 adults from the ages of 50 to 100 to examine the effects of a range of psychological, social, behavioral, biological, and historical factors on their health and well-being.

The study’s principal investigator, Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, PhD, is a professor and director of the Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Washington.

She says older people are at risk of showing signs of health problems compared to their peers.

They show signs of higher levels of social isolation.

In a fact sheet of study findings, 82 percent of LGBTQ+ elders reported being victimized at least once in their lives, with 64 percent saying they’ve been victimized “at least three times.”

About 13 percent had been denied healthcare. A majority of this group have a disability.

This population was also disproportionately affected by the AIDS crisis, leaving a generation decimated by the epidemic.

“There’s a lot more work to be done in making sure older LGBTQ people have access to services … [that] are inclusive and can address their needs.”

Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen is a PhD.

Fredriksen-Goldsen says older LGBTQIA+ adults experience high rates of social isolation.

The rates at which certain groups experience social isolation are found in the Aging with Pride research.

  • 66.2 of older men are bisexual.
  • 64.5% of older people are trans.
  • 53.9% of older gay men are men.
  • 55.3% of older bisexual women are older.
  • 48.7 percent of older lesbians are women.

While that’s true of many older adults, the additional hardships LGBTQIA+ individuals face can increase the risk of adverse mental health outcomes like depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

One of the goals of her research is to provide a road map for the development of better interventions for older LGBTQIA+ people.

“She says that conducting a longitudinal study can help you understand the trajectory of people’s lives.”

We are now better equipped to understand elders of the LGBTQIA+ group.

While things have gotten better for the people of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer community, they are still targets of discrimination and victimization.

There is more work to be done in making sure older LGBTQ people have access to services and that the services they have access to are inclusive.

Marie Spivey is a lesbian. She facilitates support groups at the center.

Spivey found the services of SAGE before she left.

She says it gave her the chance to meet other women like her who were similar to her and connect with other people about issues from family to political issues. They were welcoming to her, even though some were out.

“It was so gratifying to find a place to live. It can feel like a home when you are not in your family. I can go there, I can be myself, and I don’t have to wear any glasses.”

Spivey has his own experiences that mirror the findings of the work of Fredriksen-Goldsen.

She says the social isolation of her fellow LGBTQ+ seniors can “send a lot of us [into] deep depression or PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder].”

Spivey emphasizes the importance of highlighting mental health concerns among older queer people because it’s “just not talked about enough.”

She says that a lot of this is due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Sometimes people are not asking for help, but you can sense from a conversation or look that they need some help. Spivey says he takes pleasure in bringing people into the fold. I try to come into a center every day.

Sherrill Wayland, the director of special initiatives at SAGE, says there’s a serious “lack of ongoing conversations about the concerns and issues around LGBTQ+ older adults.”

She thinks that we are still an invisible part of the community.

Wayland says that things have gotten better in the last few years, when asked if the state of awareness of issues around older adults has improved.

There is renewed interest in supporting the needs of this population, and there is a push to look at these issues with diversity and equity in mind.

Wayland says it’s necessary that we direct an intersectional lens on inclusivity and equity, recognizing that all underrepresented communities include LGBTQ+ older adults.

“Oftentimes, we are still an invisible segment of our communities.”

Sherrill Wayland.

There is a lack of safe spaces.

Many people with the same sexual orientation face re-closeting when they seek services in their older years. They might hide their sexuality or gender identity when looking for mental health services.

They might not feel comfortable talking about their full selves if they reach out to a landlord.

“As long as we continue to have real, lived experiences with discrimination and stigma based on sexual orientation and gender identity, we will always face the fact we may re-closet,” Wayland says.

Although coming out is usually considered a major milestone for most LGBTQIA+ people, it’s not that black and white.

“Coming out isn\’t a one-time thing,” says Wayland. People have to make choices every day, whether they want to be authentic or hide their identity to get the services they need.

This is something that Spivey is familiar with.

She offers prayer and connection to other elders.

Spivey says she is accepted in traditional religious circles because of her way of presenting herself, but she may not look queer to those outside of her community.

Her partner is a lesbian who may be excluded.

Spivey says that even in communal spaces dedicated to acceptance, you might not be accepted at all.

Not everyone who is an older LGBTQIA+ person faces universal experiences is an issue that comes into play.

Out and proud queer people are more visible in major metropolitan areas and needed services are more widely available.

It can be vastly different for LGBTQIA+ older adults in rural areas.

Wayland says it’s important to recognize that LGBTQ+ elders exist in every community across the country.

She says that a lot of the community might not have access to welcoming services. I challenge the aging network to think about how they can be more open and inclusive and provide outreach and services to the older adults in their community.

The LGBTQIA+ community has some resources that can help them navigate their journey to health and well-being. Here are a few.

Healthline guides

Healthcare and community resources

Learn more

The global version of her work is currently being worked on by her.

She and her team are working with 17 partners to examine the experiences of older people who are gay.

She says that we should not see this group as a monolith.

The risk and protective factors for each group look different for targeted health interventions, says Fredriksen-Goldsen. You need to know what is happening for each group. I think that the community has a lot to teach us.

Spivey remembers how difficult the COVID-19 epidemic was for her and for the larger communities of queer elders she knows.

It was difficult to find services when they vanished or went virtual. Many older people feel great in the sense of isolation.

The community of the LGBTQIA+ is full of people who are resilient.

Nottingham says that he is a survivor. Nobody was going to stop me or tell me what to do.

She is one of many.

Brian Mastroianni is a New York–based science and health journalist. Brian’s work has been published by The Atlantic, The Paris Review, CBS News, The TODAY Show, and Engadget, among others. When not following the news, Brian is an actor who’s studied at The Barrow Group in New York City. He sometimes blogs about fashionable dogs. Yes. Really. Brian graduated from Brown University and has a Master of Arts from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Check out his website or follow him on Twitter.