Ian McKellen launches 'Pride In Ageing' programme supporting LGBT+ people over fifty

Ian McKellen in collaboration with the 'LGBT Foundation Manchester' are launching a new programme to support LGBT+ people over fifty.

Ian McKellen speaks in microphone in front of rainbow flag

The Oscar-nominated actor Ian McKellen, who is a patron of the foundation, spoke at the launch of the new ‘Pride in Ageing’ programme. “I am overjoyed to be launching this new initiative and to be an ambassador for the programme. No matter what age, all people deserve to live life to the full and deserve to live in a society that embraces all parts of their identity” said McKellen speaking at the programme launch.

The Machester LGBT Foundation was established in 1975. Supporting over 40,000 people and providing information to over 200,000 individuals online each year, it is one of the largest LGBT+ charities of its kind in the UK.

McKellen has previously spoken about his experience coming out at the age of 49 during an interview on The Charlie Rose Show in the US. “I wish I’d felt able to come out earlier. Everything in society was against people of my generation coming out because it was against the law to make love. If every time you have sex you remind yourself you’re a criminal, that’s not something you really want to talk about.”

The Manchester LGBT Foundation provides advice and supports specifically tailored to the challenges that older LGBT+ people may face. Many older LGBT+ people have grown up in a society where their identities were not recognised or accepted. Many were of age before the UK’s partial discrimination of homosexuality in 1967. According to the LGBT Foundation over 80% of LGB people aged over 50 in the Greater Manchester area have experienced a mental issue with over 50% experiencing depression or low self-esteem and 48% experiencing feelings of isolation. The ‘Pride in Ageing’ aims to celebrate the positive aspects of life in the LGBT+ community for older people. It hopes to include a demographic frequently left out from LGBT+ community events to build a community of active and empowered people.

The programme will tackle the challenges that are more prevalent in the older LGBT+ community such as isolation, mental health issues and their needs regarding social care and housing.

In Dublin, there are several LGBT+ groups targeted specifically for older people and last year LBGT Ireland launched a service to help older people in our community.

Gold is a peer support social group for men over the age of 55. The group meets in Outhouse on Wednesday afternoons for tea, coffee and chats.

OWL is a group for Older Wiser Lesbians over 40. They meet regularly for a variety of social outings. 

The LGBT Helpline is 1890 929 539 or log onto www.lgbt.ie

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