There was a time when an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence–no exceptions, no relief, no end in sight. In the 1980s and ’90s, a generation of men shrank into wretched illness that robbed them of their dignity and their future.
The sages John Lennon and Paul McCartney asked and answered the great question: Does it worry you to be alone? No, because you get by with a little help from your friends. But that thought is incomplete: your friends might need a little help from you as well. That, at its core, is what caregiving and care receiving are all about. A caregiver recognizes a need and steps up to fill it. Over the course of our lives, it’s the rare person who has not been both the provider and recipient of care.
As more LGBTQ+ people age, decisions about their future remain complicated by a patchwork of local, state and federal laws and regulations. In particular, if an individual needs long-term care in a dedicated community, there can be uncertainty about the community’s understanding and openness to the particular needs of LGBTQ+ older adults.
With the Baby Boomer population aging into retirement, more LGBTQ+ seniors are looking for affirming care and resources in their golden years, nervous about having to return to the closet in the absence of such care.
Found families are one of the most treasured touchstones of the LGBTQ+ community. It is within these circles of friends who evolve into family that we find unconditional support, meaningful companionship and genuine belonging. As we continue to age, there’s an added role that the members of our found families may take on: that of caregivers.
Michael Horvich has been many things in his lifetime, including a teacher, photographer and author. However, one of his most important roles was being a caregiver to Gregory Maire—Horvich’s husband of 41 years who died in 2015.
There is no greater gift one can give than to care for an aging parent. As the number of seniors worldwide continues to grow, family caregivers will become a more prevalent part of society. The personality traits possessed by LGBTQ+ siblings make us uniquely qualified to lead these efforts.
This article is part of News is Out’s Caring for Community series, which is focused on the challenges and triumphs of giving and receiving care in the LGBTQ+ community. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and News is Out. When Leslie Ewing walked into Daddy’s, a Castro gay bar, in the mid-1990s […]
To create a more inclusive, accepting running environment for LGBTQ+ folks in Philly, Cain Leathers started the running group Queer Run in April 2022. Leathers was motivated by some patterns of discrimination he noticed while working in the athletics industry, so he took a break to run across Pennsylvania to raise money for the Trevor Project, a crisis prevention organization geared toward LGBTQ+ youth.