It is estimated that there are anywhere from 1 to 3 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual se­niors in the United States today, and this number will climb to over 4 million by the year 2030 (Cahill et al., 2000). Many studies have found that having “come out” prior to the senior years often helps a gay or lesbian senior to feel more comfortable with his or her life and sexuality (Quam & Whitford, 1992). Homosexual seniors who have not come out or come to terms with their sexual orientation may feel depressed or alone as they continue to age. In addition, they may experience depression and isolation from the

homophobia years of internalized homophobia (Altman, 2000).

iirational fear of їло^ишаЬ and lao^^ahty. There are many issues that confront aging gay and lesbian seniors. In 2000 the

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released the first comprehensive report to address

public policy facing these seniors (Cahill et al., 2000). Important issues include sur­vivor benefits, health insurance, Social Security, and assisted living needs. Many older gay, lesbian, and bisexual seniors worry about where they will live once they require as­sisted living.

Studies have found that 52% of nursing home staff reported intolerant or con­demning attitudes toward homosexual and bisexual residents (Cahill et al., 2000). Because of this, many groups are in the process of establishing retirement homes for ag­ing gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. The first GLBT retirement community, The Palms of Manasota, is located in Sarasota, Florida. In Boston, the Stonewall Community, a new retirement housing project for homosexual and bisexual seniors, is now open.

It is anticipated that GLBT retirement housing options will increase dramatically in coming years (Kirchofer, 1999). An advocacy organization called SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Elders, has been helping aging gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals and couples (see the Web Resources at the end of this chapter for more information).