14% of calls to the LGBT Helpline last year were from older LGBT+ people. The main reasons for contacting the organisation were due to the lack of social supports, isolation and loneliness.
Many of these callers are not out and carry deep internalised fears about homophobia due to the stigma and discrimination of LGBT+ identity’s which they witnessed when they were younger.
As the national organisation which provides quality support services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT+) people CEO Paula Fagan welcomed the Taoiseach’s and Governments apology but as a frontline service she added that “we are informed on the issues and experiences raised on the LGBT Helpline, citing the 2017 figures which responded to nearly 2,000 contacts to the helpline of which 14% were from older LGBT people many of whom lived before the decriminalisation of 1993.”
Providing supports is vital now and in doing this helps to correct the mistakes of the past.
LGBT Ireland provides peer support through their “First Out Groups” for gay and bi men in Dublin and Galway with plans to add Cork group soon, these groups offer supports to men of all ages.
But Ms Fagan stressed that “more resources are needed for dedicated support services for older LGBT people across the country and funding is also needed to train health and social care staff in mainstream older people’s services to ensure they are welcoming and inclusive of older LGBT+ people.”
Ms Fagan pointed to the words of the Taoiseach when he thanked people who “helped change minds and change laws” in 1993 but “help is still needed 25 years later and into the future to give all LGBT people full inclusive rights and supports”, says Ms Fagan.
If you have been affected by any of the events of recent days or want to contact LGBT Ireland;- www.lgbt.ie & Helpline 1890 929 539
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