Phoenix Program Reaches Out To LGBT Senior Citizens
Devonshire Senior Center in Phoenix recently held a special Thanksgiving event for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender senior citizens as part of their social group Out To Meet You.
More than 30 percent of LGBT senior citizens are extremely concerned about being lonely and growing old alone, compared to 19 percent of non-LGBT seniors, according to a senior advocacy group.
“We recognize that that group in particular is socially isolated,” said Patty Contreras, who helps run the holiday parties and monthly meetups. “I think it’s fear of being 'out' in the community and that’s one thing we’re trying — to get them out, get them active, show diversity in our senior centers and be able to provide activities for everybody.”
When you have LGBT-focused events, people know they will not face discrimination and feel safe discussing their identity or attending with their partners, said Contreras. The Thanksgiving event focused on providing a sense of community and family to those who might have spent the holiday alone or isolated.