A study provided by the UNC School of Social Work showed that 46% of aging LGBT community members have faced harassment due to their sexual orientation.
Coming from New York, Ross and Keech have made their way to Virginia, choosing to settle permanently in Durham. They have located a home in a retirement community that is specifically LGBT friendly.
Even despite the gigantic victory with same-sex marriage being legalized in all 50 states, it has been proven that prejudice in the LGBT community can still remain. The caregivers that work in nursing homes may not have the necessary training to make LGBT elders feel comfortable. Homophobia also comes into play when trying to rally up support groups.
Changing the Rhetoric
Village Hearth Cohosing, the community that Ross and Keech have decided to settle into, are making a commitment to address these outstanding LGBT issues. Pat McAulay and her wife, Margaret Roesch, are the at the forefront of this community. They have already committed to making 21 homes that can be safe spaces for those of the older LGBT community in Durham.
McAulay believes that everyone deserves to know their neighbor, and that it is a great way to combat the isolation that many members of the aging community feel.
SAGE is also making big strides towards creating efficient housing for the community. They have also trained over 16,000 people with the program that they sponsor, SAGE Care. The aim is to teach people how to be more inclusive of the community.
SAGE Raleigh, an affiliate of SAGE, started their own housing effort – The SAGE Raleigh Housing Initiative. In this program, the aim is to buy or build market-rate housing for the LGBT seniors.
Ross and Keech are both looking forward to their big move; they are looking forward to feeling that sense of community and unity. “I’m going there to live,” Keech expressed, “I am not going there to die.”