August 23, 2017

DAVIE VILLAGE POST Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada LGBTQ2+ Hub

Stigma persists for LGBT seniors

For 85-year-old Alf Roberts, Canada’s largest gay pride festival is a chance to celebrate an identity he only felt comfortable sharing in his old age.

“At last, after all these years I don’t have to be careful when people ask me if I’m gay,” Roberts said. “I just say yes, I am.”

Roberts came out when he was 80, shortly after moving into Fudger House, a long-term care facility for seniors in Toronto.

“I was a church organist for years and a music teacher, and you are very careful in those positions,” he said. “You don’t want everybody to know.”

For most of his life, Roberts would remain vague about his identity, responding “I am who I am,” when people asked him if he was gay.

Then, relief came when he realized that Fudger House touted a gay-positive environment.

Bill Ryan, a social worker and professor at McGill University, said it’s rare to be openly gay in a seniors home.

Ryan, who has conducted research on the elderly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for more than a decade, said stigma persists because residents in seniors homes lived in an era when homosexuality was considered a criminal act or mental illness.

Canada decriminalized homosexual acts in 1969.

Read More Here: http://www.surreyleader.com/national/265025481.html#DVP

About The Author

Rick has lived in Vancouver since 1991 - first off Commercial Drive and now in Renfrew Heights - with his husband of 34 years, Dan. He has a background in travel, an interest in LGBT history, and a fondness for all that is geek. As co-publisher of Davie Village Post, he looks for stories and news which are relevant to LGBT Vancouver, and invites you to submit your items and ideas.

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