“To help senior gay people is a challenge…to think someone will actually put these ideas together and take the challenge is really quite extraordinary” – LGBTIQ+ elder.
In Australia, LGBTIQ+ elders have lived through a time when being LGBTIQ+ could result in imprisonment, enforced medical ‘cures’, loss of employment and rejection by family and friends. For many, impending old age has meant some elders are going back into the closet, for fear of being deprived of companionship and quality care when they need it most.
“My life issue or struggle is to be authentic and to be in the world as myself…” – Ardy Tibby
With so much change over the course of their lifetime, some LGBTIQ+ elders conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access aged care services–because they believe they are not safe. For this generation, the first to fight for equality impending old age may mean going back into the closet, or the risk of being deprived companionship or quality care when they need it most.
“All we wanted was to be treated as a normal couple – people like anyone else…” – David Morrison
In 2016 and 2017 State Government’s around Australia formally apologised and expunged the criminal records of gay men who had lived their entire lives with a criminal record for the ‘abominable crime of buggery’.
“There is so much work to be done and we can’t forget our LGBTI+ elderly just because we’re young. Our community was built by those who came before and now they need our support.” – Lizzi, LGBTIQ+ elder.
A video series made by Keith Deverell and Tristan Meecham, 2017