New initiative 'Older Than Pride' aimed at Irish LGBT+ over-fifties launched

The joint initiative, Older Than Pride, from Age Action and Dublin Pride, hopes to celebrate and highlight "a forgotten demographic".

older than Pride
Image: Babs Daly

Age Action is collaborating with Dublin Pride to provide a monthly series of events for older LGBT+ people. The events hope to create social and political awareness around a “forgotten demographic”.

The series, Older Than Pride, launches this week and offers LGBT+ people over the age of 50 the chance to visit historical, cultural and political venues such as the National Archives, Leinster House and the Oireachtas.

The initiative was piloted at Dublin Winter Pride 2019 when a group of over-fifties visited the Mansion House.

Director of Dublin Pride, Jed Dowling, said the initiative is an opportunity to celebrate and highlight a frequently ignored demographic of Irish society.

“Older LGBT people are excluded from lots of elements of society,” he said.

“The British embassy want to get involved — we’re hoping to have an event for LGBT seniors at their ambassador’s residence.”

65 year-old Jim Lawless, a former hotel manager and restaurateur from Limerick city, said that older LGBT+ people can easily face isolation.

“Even if you tirelessly supported gay rights all your life, if you slip out of social circles you are quickly forgotten at our age,” he said.

“I will be going [to the events]. Old age pensioners have free travel, so it’s easy for us to get to Dublin.”

LGBT Ireland previously reported that 14% of calls to the LGBT Helpline were from older LGBT+ people.

The main reasons for contacting the organisation were due to a lack of social supports, isolation, and loneliness.

77 % of the older people who contacted the LGBT Ireland Helpline lived in rural parts of Ireland, with rural isolation cited as a major concern and issue. Across the country, there are no LGBT specific supports in many rural communities which makes it impossible for people to build a support network.

The Visible Lives Study found that many are reluctant to access health and social care because they fear discrimination from mainstream service providers.  The study made a series of recommendations in relation to improving the health and social supports for older LGBT people but as yet, have still not been implemented.

According to Paula Fagan; “more resources are needed for support services for older LGBT people across the country and more funding is 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.”

Older Than Pride events will run until June, when Dublin Pride will include attendees as part of the festival. Find out more on dublinpride.ie

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

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