Gettin' On

Gettin’ On examines topics of interest and importance to all members of the LGBT communities as we age. LGBT older adults have faced lifetimes of discrimination, stigmatization, marginalization, and criminalization. As a result, we face unique issues and challenges to aging successfully. Gettin’ On focuses on those issues and highlights resources and solutions that will help all members of the communities to age successfully at every age.

My friends are getting sick and dying, again. Thirty years ago there was a sudden, unexpected onslaught of the same thing. Back then it was AIDS. Friends got sick and were gone in a matter of days or weeks. It went on for months and years. Eventually the dying almost stopped, but it left so many of us with physical and emotional damage. It did not seem to be, it could not have been, part of the natural progression.

Let’s be honest, our society can often be obsessed with youth and fighting the realities of aging. It can therefore be difficult to give honest thought to what it really means to age in a healthy way. Yet, all of us are aging, and our communities need to address how to best ensure that LGBT people are aging in ways that promote physical, mental and emotional wellness.

What age do you think? Are you 60 but think 30? Or are you 60 and think 90? Age is, after all, part mindset, and you have control over what age you think you are. You can, in fact, choose to be forever young.

If you are over 50 and have HIV, you are not unique. Almost half of Americans living with HIV/AIDS are over 50. But, because you are in that age group, you do face some unique health issues versus younger people with HIV. Here are some things you should know. 

Recently we celebrated Independence Day, marking the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed: July 4, 1776.

In 1972, I went to Trafalgar Square in London with a trans friend to march to Hyde Park with the Gay Liberation Front. At that time, it was illegal for a same-sex couple to kiss in public. Life was difficult for trans folk like myself: You could be arrested for “walking while trans,” so I approached the event with some trepidation.

Lifetimes of discrimination and stigmatization put LGBT older adults at risk for social isolation, generally considered to be an involuntary lack of contact with others.

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