(EDGE) SeniorAdvice.com, one of the nation's top senior housing referral services, released an article on the challenges and progress of the aging transgender community.
The company recognizes that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) senior community is currently a very important part of the American population, and that the struggle for acceptance and safety among the transgender community has finally reached the national conversation. There is generally less acceptance of the trans community among older generations, which can make it very difficult to find a supportive community within the senior demographic.
According to a recent study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School, 14 percent of those identifying as transgender are over the age of 65. The senior transgender community often faces many difficulties.
SeniorAdvice.com has identified three of these challenges and has researched ways to combat these issues, including current public and private efforts to improve upon the lives of transgender seniors.
The three challenges of transgender seniors explored by SeniorAdvice.com are:
1) Isolation and a Negative Social Stigma
In addition to the rampant discrimination, loneliness, and violence that all transgender people often encounter, older individuals in this community can face particular challenges in dealing with long-standing familial roles. There can be difficulties when families and friends have to consider modifying deeply established roles and there may be a period of adjustment for all involved. There is also a lack of availability of social groups for seniors, particularly outside of large metropolitan areas, and this can worsen the isolation.
2) Senior Housing Issues
There is a serious lack of availability in LGBT-friendly senior housing and the problem is most severe for those who are transgender. Because there are no legal protections at the national level for transgender people, those seeking nursing home or assisted living care often face discrimination and lack of acceptable living conditions.
3) Health Concerns
Transgender people of all ages frequently lack access to properly-trained healthcare providers who understand their unique medical and psychological challenges. Many within the community even report facing harassment, ridicule, and rough treatment by medical professionals, or are refused treatment altogether. Individuals who are older often face additional complications due to requirements for longer-term and sometimes more intense hormone therapy that require a closer level of attention from their healthcare providers.
To further investigate these challenges, SeniorAdvice.com conducted an in-depth interview with a retired transgender woman. Cynthia, whose name was changed to protect her identity, is a parent, a decorated military veteran, and a Purple Heart recipient. She recently began her transition and is the happiest she's ever been, though she has faced many obstacles along her journey.
"SeniorAdvice.com continues to be dedicated to the challenges and needs of elder people of all backgrounds. The transgender senior community is a particularly vulnerable group and has been largely ignored for far too long. It's time to bring their story into the public conversation," said Ryan Patterson, SeniorAdvice.com CEO and Founder.
SeniorAdvice.com has previously released articles on the "Americas Best Cities for Gay Friendly Retirement" and "LGBT Assisted Living Communities - Finding a Gay-Friendly Facility."
To view the full article on "Transitioning After Retirement: The Struggles and Triumphs of Transgender Seniors," click here.