Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aging and gay, and facing prejudice in twilight


One look at this beautiful woman's face was all it took for me to want everyone to hear her story. The New York Times reports on aging and being lesbian or gay -- and facing discrimination. Here is just a sample of what you will find:
Jalna Perry, a 77-year-old lesbian and psychiatrist in Boston, is out, she said, but does not broadcast the fact, which would feel unnatural to someone of her generation. Dr. Perry, who uses a wheelchair, has spent time in assisted-living centers and nursing homes. There, she said, her guard was up all the time.

Dr. Perry came out to a few other residents in the assisted-living center — artsy, professional women who she figured would accept her. But even with them, she said, “You don’t talk about gay things.” Mostly, she kept to herself. “You size people up,” Dr. Perry said. “You know the activities person is a lesbian; that’s a quick read.”

Trickier was an aide who was gentle with others but surly and heavy-handed when helping Dr. Perry with personal tasks. Did the aide suspect and disapprove? With a male nurse who was gay, Dr. Perry said she felt “extremely comfortable.”

“Except for that nurse, I was very lonely,” she said. “It would have been nice if someone else was out among the residents.”

No one should have to live their twilight years in fear ... or surrounded by bigotry.


FranIAm said...

You know, this is so completely upsetting to me at so many levels.

We are so sick as a society. And is it me, or are some things getting worse?

I have always been around gay people and (sadly) I grew up around sexually disturbed people. They were not the same.

As a result, in some ways, I probably had a healthier view of gay folks than straight! I am being very serious here.

So orientation has never been an issue for me and I have never been able to understand fully why it is for so many.

My heart is breaking reading about any older person who is not treated appropriately,but this is even more painful.

How sad.

angry ballerina said...

I wanna give her a hug....

BAC said...

... me, too!