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Their Stories


Although much has changed for LGBTQ2+ communities in the past 40 years, the journey has not always been an easy one.


This generation of LGBTQ2+ seniors has lived through decades of negative messaging about their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Some have experienced physical violence and likely all have experienced prejudice, rejection, and discrimination. 

So, what was it really like growing up LGBTQ2+ for today’s seniors?  

Have a listen to some of the stories, before completing the worksheet below.

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The recent reworking of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs challenges the notion that social connections are only important once “basic” needs for food and shelter are met.  It is likely far more accurate to state that social and community connections are in fact, required for survival.


In earlier times we could literally only survive if we were part of a community of people who hunted, gathered sheltered and protected each other.  We are hardwired to seek social bonds and the pain of rejection or exclusion from “the group” is not so different from the pain of physical injury (Weir, 2012).


Researchers have found that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain (Eisenberger, 2015).  There is some evidence to suggest that social exclusion can have consequences on our physical health as well.

The details of how and why our pain response systems act this way are fascinating but beyond the scope of this workbook! 


The main thing to take away from this section is that LGBTQ2+ seniors have most likely experienced repeated episodes of rejection and exclusion and the pain from those experiences is very real.  These past experiences contribute to fear and anxiety for LGBTQ2+ seniors when they find themselves in new situations with people who may or may not be welcoming and inclusive.

Visibility + Acceptance = Belonging

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