OLGA, Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association, is a voluntary organisation previously funded by AgeUK, Comic Relief and subscriptions from strategic partners. We are a National Community Network based in Scarborough & Ryedale. OLGA is entirely user led.
- We are an all-inclusive voluntary group whose main aim is to support the needs of the older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.
- We provide social support and befriending and signposting
- We advise about organisations equality policies, emphasising the use of all inclusive, appropriate language.
- We have delivered awareness raising workshops on issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and receiving health and social care. Currently, this training is available via our training DVD “Equality Means Mind Your Language”.
- We partner with organisations, including health and social care providers.
- We speak at organisations AGMs conferences etc. We have addressed CQC, Stonewall, Prostate Cancer UK and various health and social care organisations.
Older LGBT people – what are the issues
Recent figures suggest that the Scarborough & Ryedale area is home to around 6000 older Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Trans individuals.
Nationally, older LGBT people are more likely to need professional care services as they are twice as likely to be single, twice as likely to be living on their own and 4 and a half times more likely to not have children to support them in old age compared with older heterosexuals. Even gay and trans people who have children may lose their support because of stigma and discrimination.
There are also difficulties surrounding access to appropriate care through retirement homes, who may not be equipped or willing to support same gender partners. Many elderly lesbian, gay and trans people are apprehensive about having to go into a care home, and possibly back into a situation where they do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity. Concerns also arise regarding appropriate support and care from care workers, who may refuse to recognise extended “families” within the gay community, or may not allow a person to spend “social time” in a gay venue.
Society assumes that LGBT people are young and active; it does not occur to society that older people may be gay too. These issues inevitably have an impact on effective delivery of health care. A thorough needs assessment is necessary to establish the exact needs of older gay and trans people.
‘Its very important for your mental health, to stay in touch with your Gay identity and to feel comfortable and accepted as a whole person – that includes your sexual orientation and gender identity’ – Mary
OLGA works with service providers, giving training and organising and attending events to raise awareness of older LGBT issues.