Thus, many gaps to our understanding of LGBT older adults' characteristics exist. This makes it difficult to provide accurate information about demographic and other characteristics of the population. In writing this report, we attempted to take an integrative approach to understanding LGBT older adults, the challenges they encounter, and their resiliency in addressing these challenges. Additionally, we provide recommendations on future areas of research. Finally, we suggest how to use this report in informing policy makers and stakeholders on issues pertinent to the LGBT older adult community.
Research Perspectives The Institute of Medicineâ€™s report on LGBT health (2011) recommended that researchers consider four conceptual perspectives: The first perspective, minority stress, suggests that LGBT individuals experience stressors that stem from stigma and prejudice in social environments toward their sexual and gender minority identity (Meyer, 2003; Hendricks & Testa, 2012). Stressors include stressful major life events (e.g. assaulted because of being LGB), micro aggressions or everyday discrimination (e.g. receiving poor services in stores), expectations of rejections, concealment, and internalized stigma. The minority stress theory suggests that these stressors have adverse health effects on LGBT individuals. Against this stress, resilience from resources both at the individual and community level can ameliorate the impact of minority stress on health. The overall impact of minority stress is the balance of these negative and positive processes, which can lead to mental and physical disorders as well as growth and positive well-being (Meyer, 2015). The second perspective, the life-course approach focuses on the principle stress and health needs and health outcomes that vary along ages and developmental periods. At the same time, the lifecourse perspective also takes a historical perspective, examining how events at each life stage can influence later stages, both from an individual (biological and social) and environmental (cultural and contextual) aspect (Cohler and Hammack, 2007; Elder, 1998). As a result of these different influences, the life course perspective teaches us to note important distinctions among different cohorts of LGBT older adults. The third, intersectionality perspective alerts us to examine LGBT lives in the context of other important social identities and statuses, such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and areas of residence (e.g., urban vs. rural), and how these factors interact (McCall, 2009). For example, lesbian and bisexual Black women have unique experiences with stress, health, and identity associated with their sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and gender that cannot be fully captured by considering race and gender separately (Bowleg, 2008; Brooks et al., 2009; Gamson & Moon, 2004; Moore et al., 2010).
Published on Sep 21, 2016
This report is a review of existing literature of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults and provides recommendations f...