In the summer of 2010, I had just started looking for older lesbians to take part in my research. At Brighton Pride that year, I crossed and re-crossed the park, accosting every grey-haired woman I saw - and a few others J - giving them postcards with details of the research and asking them to pass the word on. It was striking how many of these women responded by asking me whether I was going to investigate ‘where we can live when we are old?’
One of the things that my survey is now showing is the fierce resistance among many older lesbians to the idea of spending their last days in residential care, which they believe to be an oppressively hetero-sexist environment. (Other researchers have found the same attitudes in older gay men.)
So the ‘Lesbian Retirement Home’ has become a fantasy dear to our collective hearts – we often talk about it, we know it already happens in America, and I've come across several people who have made beginnings on actually bringing it about in the UK.
While such places don’t yet exist, the important task is to bring about better provision for LGBT old people in ALL services for the elderly.
Meanwhile, here are two inspiring examples to cheer us all up:
The Older Women’s Co-housing Project in London (with its fab acronym, OWCH) is not exclusively lesbian, but is the only instance I know of older ‘sisters doing it for themselves,’ and it’s amazing and wonderful - see
Then this morning – thank you, Barbary! – I was alerted to this awesome project in Victoria, Australia:
Does anyone know of any others?