Sexual orientation, gender identity and diverse relationships

Many people we spoke to who are over 45 and who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or who are questioning their sexuality, said that they felt discriminated against, stigmatized, vilified, and ostracised.

People who were not yet openly ‘out’ reported feeling fearful of coming out, and many who were already out reported only feeling truly comfortable within their own LGBTQ network.

Some people reported feeling a loss of their social network as they aged, as they felt the LGBTQ scene targeted mainly young people. There are still high levels of fear and shame, especially true for those felt unsafe expressing themselves as they grew up. Many people still have family and peers who do not accept their sexual orientation or gender identity.

There are much higher rates of closeted sexuality or gender expression amongst older people, as well as higher rates of loneliness.

We are working to tackle this, as everyone should have the right to healthy relationships and a shame-free sex life, whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Gingerbread person

A visual representation of gender identity, sexual orientation, attraction, and expression.

Further resources

  • Opening Doors is a great charity that supports older LGBTQ people in the UK.
  • Age UK has some excellent information about your rights as you age, responding to discrimination, staying healthy and well, finding fair services, and staying connected to your community.
  • Later life ( Stonewall has some helpful links to social groups, both online and in person, as well as a local area search feature to help you locate LGBTQ groups more targeted at older people.
  • Gender Identity Clinic – GIC if you’re struggling with your gender identity or gender dysmorphia.
  • Coming out as LGBTQ - advice for adults ( a good resource for coming out later in life.