As with any other older adults, LGBT seniors face the typical challenges of aging, but because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are at a higher risk for abuse, isolation, discrimination and exploitation.
That’s according to filmmaker Stu Maddox, whose documentary Gen Silent follows six older LGBT people for a year of their lives.
Maddox, along with Andrea Spencer from ElderSource Institute, spoke on Monday’s First Coast Connect about the upcoming screening of his film in Jacksonville and the launch of a certification for LGBT-friendly businesses offered by the ElderSource Institute of Northeast Florida.
Maddox said, in the film, the seniors must decide whether or not they are going back in the closet.
“It’s gut wrenching,” he said. “These are folks that peeled back layer after layer of their lives. It is a struggle daily.”
Depending on the care they receive, some slowly have to put those layers back on, he said.
“I felt I had to do something about it, and this is what I do, make films. This is how I make change,” Maddox said.
See the Gen Silent trailer:
The ElderSource Institute will host the screening of Gen Silent on Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at Mayo Clinic on San Pablo Road. Registration and more information is here.
And Spencer spoke on the launch of the LGBT Elder Friendly Business Program.
She said as Baby Boomers are aging, it became apparent that a fraction in the community are seeking available help and resources. And LGBT seniors especially are a group that does not seek help because they are often afraid of being harassed and discriminated against, she said.
Businesses can apply for the LGBT Elder Friendly certification through ElderSource.
“You undergo LGBT elder cultural competency training and adopt business practices to declare your business LGBT friendly,” Spencer said.
To learn more visit ElderSourceInstitute.org.