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Forced Back Into the Closet

ABilly Jones-Hennin, seated, and his partner Christopher Henin faced discrimination from a physical therapist. Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

ABilly Jones-Hennin, seated, and his partner Christopher Hennin faced discrimination from a physical therapist. Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Some gay men and lesbians who are elderly fear they will face discrimination from caregivers so are deciding to go back into the closet instead of revealing their sexuality, according to this article in the Washington Post.

For some it is already happening. A physical therapist wanted to pray the gay away from ABilly Jones-Hennin, 71, when he found out he lived with partner Christopher Hennin, 63.

National Association of Social Workers member Wendy Lustbader, MSW, who was interviewed, said some people who are gay and lesbian are on public assistance, so must accept whatever caregiver is assigned to them.

“Many people actually accept various kinds of abuse from health-care workers because they are dependent on their care,” said Lustbader, who is a professor of social work at the University of Washington and an expert on aging.

Meanwhile social worker Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, DSW, who is director of the Institute for Multigenerational Health, said caregivers need to be educated about the concerns and needs of elderly clients who may be gay or lesbian.

Social workers are committed to equal treatment for all, including people who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers’ Diversity and Equity website.

 

 

 

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