MASON CITY, Iowa – It’s a community that has grown over the years, but as older generations age in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community, new concerns arise.
Advocates for the community are concerned that LGBTQ seniors will end up facing greater isolation, discrimination and the chance of abuse as they age.
Dean Genth is a board member with One Iowa, a statewide organization that works to support the LGBTQ community.
He says that because of the controversy of the topic, many seniors have lost touch with family members who neglected them after they came out.
“Because of the way culture was 40-years ago, many of them do not have family relationships that they can count on,” Genth said, “so they really are depending a lot upon friends to take care of them in their last days.”
Health care is one of the main issues that concern elders in the community as they feel like their needs won’t be met and because of their sexual orientation, they could be treated wrongfully.
Being comfortable with seeing a physician as an openly gay individual is one of the major issues seniors in this community deal with and need to learn to face as getting older comes with more health issues.
“There’s a big gap on the education and understanding of the caregivers throughout Iowa with what the needs of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individual might be when it comes to long term eldercare.”
Genth says he’s disheartened to see these things happening and hopes that through raising awareness of the issues, things will get better for generations to come.