Brian Diehl



Document Type



This project focuses on particular issues faced by elderly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. This qualitative study involves interviews with eight gay men, four lesbians and two service providers and seeks to understand the unique challenges confronting aging members of the LGBT community and the quality of training received by caregivers assisting this population. Interview participants included three couples and four single men, and two partnered individuals across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Analysis of the data indicates that the areas of greatest concern to LGBT elders are social-support networks and broader social change. Individuals interviewed expressed concern about maintaining local connections or receiving support within the direct community, while couples were primarily concerned with legal rights on a federal level, such as spousal benefits and pension transference. Services providers expressed concern about understaffed agencies, a void in LGBT elder training and lack of agency support in meeting the needs of this minority group. Aging members of the LGBT community who have faced stigmatism, discrimination or marginalization throughout their life would benefit from an environment that supports diversity and institutional changes designed to meet their distinctive needs. Policy-makers interested in equal protection, eldercare advocates or diversity awareness groups could utilize these findings.


Social Work

Thesis Comittee

Kathleen Bailey (Thesis Director)

Arnaa Alcon

Jonghyun Lee

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Included in

Social Work Commons