Sunday, 11 September 2011

Britain is no country for old men in general and gay ones in particular

A report in the 'Observer' newspaper today was entitled ;
Gay people 'at risk of a lonelier old age'. Campaigners warn of looming care problem as Stonewall survey predicts health and housing crisis.

It stated that it is estimated that there are a million lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain over the age of 55 and made the following points based on a 'YouGov' survey, commissioned by the campaign group 'Stonewall' based on 2000 heterosexual and LGB people over the age of 55, that :

* thousands of gay men are growing older without the same family and support structures which many straight people enjoy and are far more likely to end up living alone.

* that older gay and bisexual men are three times more likely to be single than heterosexual men and just over a quarter have children compared with almost nine in every 10 heterosexual men and were less likely to see biological family members regularly.

Ben Summerskill, Chief executive of Stonewall :

"This pioneering research confirms what we already knew intuitively, that there are hundreds of thousands of lesbian and gay people growing older without the same family and support structures that many straight people enjoy. Quite often, that's because their own families have disowned them just because of the way they were born."

The prospects of a solitary old age may be one explanation why the survey suggests gay men are consistently more anxious about growing older than heterosexual people.

The result of all this is that, with diminished support networks, they are more likely to rely on formal support services as they get older and were nearly twice as likely to rely on external services such as doctors and social services as heterosexual people. Many worried that the services would not meet their needs.

What a sad country Britain has become or, in this case, probably always was.

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