Welcome friends & allies,
The goal of this project is to improve the conditions of today’s older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and two-spirit (LGBTQI2S) individuals when they enter long-term care.
This cohort grew up in a time when homosexuality and the expression of a transgender identity were particularly hostile. While many positive changes have occurred since then, this cohort still feels they must conceal their identity when entering into long-term care.
Our aim is to raise awareness of an issue that still remains primarily invisible in our healthcare system today. Starting conversations within long-term care and health organizations will lead to the development of a long-term care system that is inclusive of diverse individuals.
© Nicole Tremblay, September 2019. “The author of the workbook permits individuals to print, copy, and distribute the materials for non-commercial purposes only. Please give appropriate credit when used.”
"Within the next two weeks I will be going into assisted living. Due to my financial situation, I will have to share a room with another man. The thought of going back into a closet is making me ill. Frankly, I’m afraid of telling anyone that I’m gay."
— Anonymous, 73 years old, Sylmar, CA
Sadly, little has changed in the decade since we've been aware of the issues faced by LGBTQI2S community older adults as they enter long-term care facilities.
Over the life of this project we discovered that there were many toolkits, courses, and modules aimed at increasing LGBTQI2S sensitivity various workplace settings. What we have found missing is the utilization of these resources.
Interestingly, and this is what may be at the core of the issue at the moment in long-term care, simply, that in many settings administrators feel they do not have any LGBTQI2S residents and/or it is felt that their mission to treat all people the same is a satisfactory position.
The first statement of course cannot fully be true across hundreds of long-term care homes, and in many ways this reflects the invisibility of this population in these settings.
The second statement, sadly, falls short of being effective, because the missing component in the decree that an organization treats everyone the same, implies that they treat everyone as heterosexuals.
By "Going Upstream" a large part of our project now, is focused on raising awareness to the issues among management, professional staff, and frontline workers in these facilities. Our goal is simply to get the conversation started, and in turn get people to engage with our workbook and learning Activities and/or explore the many toolkits and LGBTQI2S sensitivity training materials that are out there!