Why 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors are more vulnerable to abuse

June 14, 2024
It's estimated between four and 10 per cent of older adults in Canada are abused. Older adults and seniors in the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities also experience the same abuse, but are at even greater risk, for a variety of reasons.

If you chat with someone in their 60s, 70s, 80s—and beyond—it can be like meeting a human book. Every person has a remarkable story to tell, and a lifetime of experiences, joys and heartaches, triumphs and traumas.

Now consider if you met a senior or older adult from the 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and asexual +) community. Someone who was born in 1949, and is now 75 years old, would have witnessed or experienced these events:

  • In 1969, homosexual acts are partially decriminalized in Canada (when they were 20 years old)
  • Homosexuality is removed from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Orders) in 1973 (when they were 24)
  • In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removes homosexuality from the list of mental disorders (when they were 41)
  • In 1996, the Canadian Government adds sexual orientation to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (when they were 46)
  • In 2005, same-sex couples have the right to marry in Canada (when they were 56)
  • In 2019, the WHO removes transgender from the list of mental disorders (when they were 70).

This timeline is from “Bridging Generations: Inclusive Care for all 2SLGBTQIA+ Ages” by Lisa Salazar.

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