Monday, June 12, 2006

The Nexus Of Two Societal Issues

What do you get when you cross LGBT baby boomers reaching the age where they need assisted-living facilities?
Aging gays fuel specialized housing market

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jun 10, 6:28 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - Like other gay men in their golden years, Jack Norris and Seymour Sirota had heard the horror stories.

An elderly lesbian couple is housed on separate floors of a nursing home and kept from seeing each other. A gay retired college professor feels compelled to keep his sexual orientation a secret after his roommate at an assisted living facility asks to be transferred.

"I thought, 'We are not going to be in that situation,'" the 67-year-old Norris says crisply. "This is not going to happen to us in our final days."

That's how the two New Yorkers, partners for 14 years, landed at Rainbow Vision, a just-completed senior community in Santa Fe, N.M. From the private dining room named after Truman Capote to the cabaret where '60s teen icon Lesley "It's My Party" Gore was scheduled to appear this weekend, everything about the 146-unit retirement village was designed with the comfort of graying gays and lesbians in mind.
Isn't it sad, though, that this couple, along with countless hundreds (perhaps thousands) of others have to find a "special" place to be who they are?

Isn't sad that we live in a society so intolerant that people just can't be and still live among us? That we have to herd them off to "camps" (to put it bluntly), no matter how nice and how appreciative those places might be?

Or, to put it another way:
In such senior-heavy locales as California, Arizona and Florida, as well as less traditionally gay-friendly places like North Carolina and Texas, builders have found a market in a segment of the gay population that worries getting old will mean going back in the closet.
Just in case you were a FReeper wondering why gay rights is still such an issue in this country.