This research aimed to examine and understand older GSD (gender and sexuality diverse) women’s experiences and needs related to health, aged-care and social support services.
Older (e.g., 55 years and older) gender and sexually diverse women (GSD) in New South Wales (NSW), are underserviced by health, social and aged-care programs. Not only is this a concern for these women in NSW but also can emerging issue for ageing LGBTIQ people across Australia. The findings indicate that older women with diverse genders and sexualities continue to experience stigma and marginalisation from healthcare institutions, which impact their health access, engagement and outcomes.
Practitioners often assume patients are heterosexual, and fail to take into account their specific needs as lesbian and transwomen with intersecting identities. The women in this study express concerns about aged care services as being heteronormative, homo/transphobic, and not able to support their needs. They respond by considering and adopting strategies for remaining safe, such as staying invisible to their carer, and recommend the need for greater LGBTIQ staff training and LGBTIQ friendly facilities.
These findings point to a relationship between affirming health/social service experiences and enhanced sense of connection, health and wellbeing. Importantly, the study indicates that older GSD women experience challenges when accessing health, aged and social services at individual, interpersonal, institutional and cultural levels. This suggests that interventions are needed at all levels to improve access and quality of care to older GSD women.