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Lifting the Lid On Sexuality and Ageing.

Fenge, L.-A., 2006. Lifting the Lid On Sexuality and Ageing. Project Report. Help and Care Development Ltd.

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Abstract

This report presents the findings of a three-year action research project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which explored the needs, experiences and aspirations of older lesbians and gay men in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset between June 2003 and September 2006. This Participatory Action Research Project (PAR) was undertaken by a group of older volunteers, with the support of a project worker, employed by Help and Care, and by a senior lecturer at Bournemouth University. The project has established many links regionally and nationally with a wide range of agencies, organisations and individuals. The group of volunteers from the older lesbian and gay community, with the guidance of Help and Care and Bournemouth University, have raised awareness of the needs, issues and concerns that they face as non-heterosexuals. Members of the group have actively participated in both academic and social care conferences as well as attending meetings with various agencies. This has raised the profile of the group substantially and given a voice to older lesbians and gay men that was previously silent. The project's remit is broad, encompassing as it does both research and outreach work and it is to the credit of the Gay and Grey volunteers that they have stuck to the original remit. A total of 300 self-completion questionnaires were distributed using existing lesbian and gay male groups and networks. A response rate of 30% (90) was achieved with an age range of 50 – 90 years. 34% (31) of respondents were subsequently interviewed. The volunteers undertook the statistical analysis of the data from the questionnaires and the thematic analysis of open-ended questions. They also carried out the interviews and analysed the information gathered. The gender mix of respondents was almost equal; we were unsuccessful in reaching other than white ethnic cultures. 44% of respondents were professional; more than 50% had access to the Internet. (4.1 page 11; 4.2.1 page 40) Key themes Sexuality and coming out (4.1.2 page 14; 4.2.3 page 55): Each person’s experience of being gay is very different. Almost half those questioned felt really positive about being gay; they had been able to come out to family and friends who were supportive and accepting. Others have had devastating exposure to cruel and thoughtless discrimination. Relationships and social networks (4.1.3 page 21; 4.2.1 page 40): It appears that existing gay social groups and personal support structures are not fulfilling a need for the majority and that there is a need to look into other ways of developing social networks. The lack of social outlets where people can totally relax and be themselves without fear of censure or abuse creates a sense of loneliness and makes it difficult to develop friendships. Community and Housing (4.1.4 page 24): Transport for those in rural areas continues to be a problem and some respondents talked of needing social support services like advocacy, buddying schemes and practical support in their homes and gardens. Social care and health (4.1.5 page 27; 4.2.4 page 62): Most gay people want their sexuality to be taken into consideration by those providing services and they want to be treated with respect and equality. The majority thought that educational and awareness training for all staff was imperative. It is also felt that strong anti-discriminatory policies allowing for diversity and equality need to be enshrined in codes of conduct.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords:LGBT ; Ageing ; Participatory Action Research
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:33368
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:11 Feb 2020 10:08
Last Modified:11 Feb 2020 10:08

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