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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Aging

Challenges in Research, Practice, and Policy

edited by Tarynn M. Witten, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., and A. Evan Eyler, M.D., M.P.H.

Publication Year: 2011

The graying of the U.S. population draws increasing focus to historically unattended segments of society, including sexual and gender minorities. In this first comprehensive volume to address the challenges of aging in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex populations, this text presents what is currently known about aging GLBT individuals and what services are needed to support them. The editors first provide an introductory overview comparing caregiving in GLBT and normative aging communities. In chapters devoted to the issues of each alternative sexuality and gender identity community, top experts in the field discuss biomedical, psychological, social/sexual, spiritual, socioeconomic, and service topics related to that community's aging needs. GLBT populations face unique challenges as they age. Despite the often severe difficulties they encounter, many live out their final years with the dignity and grace that all of us deserve. With a combination of the latest biological and social science research, moving case studies and first-person accounts, practical advice for health professionals, and research literature citations, this book represents a major step forward in addressing concerns of aging GLBT populations. Integrating research, practice, and policy, this text is for students and professionals in gerontology, medicine, social work, psychology, nursing, public health, and related fields who wish to learn more about the life experiences and concerns of sexual and gender-minority-identified older patients.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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pp. c-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

The idea for this book arose quite a number of years ago, when we realized that no integrative text addressed the unique problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aging, and that the concerns of intersex- identifi ed older adults had not been addressed. To be sure, there were books that contained a chapter on some small subset of problems of LGBT aging. In the interim, a few books have...

List of Contributors

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pp. xv-xviii

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1 The Aging of Sexual and Gender Minority Persons: An Overview

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pp. 1-58

Aging—being old— is defi ned both biomedically and psychosocioeco nom ical ly: “The geriatric or el der ly patient is defi ned as an individual whose biological age is advanced. By defi nition, such an individual has one or more diseases, one or more silent lesions in various organ systems” (Aronheim, 1992, p. ix). However, there are also links between the biological aspects of aging and the...

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2 Informal Caregiving in the LGBT Communities

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pp. 59-83

Equity in health is critical to society given its ethical and social justice implications. Despite tremendous advancements in medicine and improved health for many Americans, historically disadvantaged communities continue to bear higher levels of illness, disability, and premature death. The National Institutes of Health (2010) affirm a commitment to “reducing health disparities impacting racial...

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3 Aging in the Gay Community

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pp. 84-129

The combination of aging and gay, key words in the title of this chapter, brings together two constructs and two divergent ideas variously and ambiguously defined, rendering their conjoint use both fascinating and problematic. By “aging,” we typically mean to characterize those who are already over a “certain age” and might already be defined as “old,” notwithstanding the developmental or action orientation...

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4 Aging in the Lesbian Community

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pp. 130-161

The lives of older lesbians have rarely been the focus of research and scholarly writing. Much of the limited research base cited in current studies was developed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and originated in clinical, psychological settings. Many studies that include or are about lesbians have concentrated on relatively narrow areas of investigation, including sexual orientation and personal identity,...

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5 Aging in the Bisexual Community

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pp. 162-186

Bisexual elders are a diverse population (Boxer, 1997). Some older bisexual men and women have been out for decades, living as visible members of sexual minority communities through significant historical events and changes in political climate. Others have come out more recently, adopting bisexual identities at a later stage of life, often after lengthy heterosexual marriages and child rearing. Issues...

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6 Transgender and Aging: Beings and Becomings

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pp. 187-269

The process of aging can be more complex for transgender and other gender minority persons than for members of normatively identified non-transgender populations (Witten, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c, 2003). There are also often significant differences between the concerns of transgender older adults and those of their lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) peers because of the medical realities of physical...

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7 Intersex and Aging: A (Cautionary) Research Agenda

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pp. 270-289

When we were first asked to write a chapter about intersex* and aging, we thought, “How hard can it be?” Surely, with all the social, political, psychological, and biomedical focus on intersex issues in recent decades, including national attention sparked by publication of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex (2002) and John Colapinto’s nonfiction As Nature Made Him, it would be relatively easy to...

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8 Conclusion

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pp. 290-302

Older adults will be the largest demographic group in North America for approximately the next two decades, as the cohort of persons born in the 20 years following World War II enters the elder years. This weighty population cohort will continue to expand the ranks of each subgroup of older adults, including, ultimately, the oldest old, until approximately 2030....

Suggested Further Reading

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pp. 303-328


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pp. 329-337

E-ISBN-13: 9781421404059
E-ISBN-10: 1421404052
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421403205
Print-ISBN-10: 142140320X

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011