News from the Network: LGBT AGE Launch of new services for Glasgow area

Elspeth Gracey of CHEX reports on this launch event. This peice is from the latest issue of CHEX-Point Snippets - The latest news and information for community-led health

I recently attended the launch of a new service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people aged over 50 in Glasgow. The event was held in the Victorian splendour of Glasgow City Chambers. We would expect that the contrast in attitudes from Victorian times might mean that LGBT people would now face no greater problems than the rest of the population in terms of family relationships and accessing services. However sadly this is far from the truth. Despite the changes in legal structures like the equality of legislation around marriage, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender still suffer discrimination and isolation in ways that it might be hard for those of us not facing these challenges to understand.

Among the shocking statistics that we were given were the facts that within an attitude survey of the general population it seems that 25% of the population consider that same sex relationships are ‘always or nearly always’ wrong. For those over 50 this figure rises to an even more shocking 50%. So it is clear why those over 50 might find a lack of empathy from within their peer group and that being open about their sexuality or gender identity can present sometimes overwhelming barriers.

Isolation and being ostracised from family remain some of the commonest challenges which LGBT people face. These challenges were brought to light by presentations written and presented by members of a writing project, the first of which was entitled. ‘All I want for Christmas is to wear a dress’ by Jo Clifford. This expressed the desire of Jo, a trans woman, simply to be herself on Christmas day and to be accepted by the rest of the family, something which many of us take for granted. Despite the very real challenges that LGBT people can face it is of course also true that not all of life’s experiences are negative and Sally Fox chose to share the joy of self-discovery and embarking on a new relationship through her poem ‘Glad’.

The LGBT Age Project is run by LGBT Health and Wellbeing, and provides a social programme and a befriending programme. If you want to know more please contact the team at 0141 271 2330 or by emaillgbtage@lgbthealth.org.uk. Their web site is www.lgbthealth.org.uk

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