del martin and phyllis lyon
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

MetLife and American Society on Aging (ASA), which includes an appropriately named group, the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN), have done a study on aging Baby Boomers.

Note to MetLife, I may be a Baby Boomer, but I’m NOT aging.

Their study, “Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers,” reveals some interesting similarities and some disturbing differences between the LGBT population and the population in general.

The study, which polled 1,200 LGBT individuals and 1,200 people from the general population, shows stark differences and striking similarities between the two groups with regard to attitudes, demographics and aging:

·         60% of LGBT Boomers fear being unable to care for themselves as they age; 35% fear becoming dependent on others; and 10% fear discrimination as they age.

·         Of the LGBT sample surveyed, Lesbians (76%), Gay men (74%), Bisexuals (16%) and Transgender individuals (39%) say they are “completely” or “mostly” out.  61% of Lesbians and 57% of Gay men say their families are “completely” or “very” accepting, while that is true for 24% of Bisexuals and 42% of Transgender individuals.

·         Members of the LGBT group are more likely to say they will be at least 70 before they can retire, 48% compared with 40% in the general population, mostly for economic reasons.  Only a quarter or fewer in the LGBT group say they have saved what they need to live in retirement.

·         While LGBT Boomers continue to fear discrimination, 55% of the LGBT sample say they have total or near total confidence that they will be treated with dignity and respect, compared with 39% of the comparison group.

·         A higher percentage of LGBT Boomers have completed living wills, health care proxies, rights of visitation and partnership agreements, in comparison to the general population.

·         Though both populations are likely to discuss end-of-life issues with their partners/spouses, LGBT Boomers have many more of those discussions with siblings, parents and other relatives.

·         In the LGBT group, men and women are equally likely to be caring for a parent or partner.

·         Members of the general population are more likely to be in a relationship than those in the LGBT sample, 77% vs. 61%.  More than a quarter (26%) of LGBT partners have gotten married, even though only five states grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Many (63%) say they would marry if there was a federal law allowing gay marriage.

·         Nearly two thirds of LGBT Boomers say they have a “chosen family,” a group of people they consider family, even though they are not legally or biologically related.

As the oldest person by decades here at Dallas Voice, I hereby put everyone on notice that you will be taking care of me well into my old age. And don’t try that putting me in a nursing home routine. Went through that with my father. Know all the tricks. Not gonna happen. I plan to be here being as cranky as ever well into my 100s. And I used a picture of Del and Phyllis because they are beautiful heroes who stayed active and vital through um … lots of years … really can’t use that “old” word. – David

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