Gender and older LGBT housing discourse: The marginalised voices of older lesbians, gay and bisexual women

Sue Westwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This paper is a conceptual discussion of the marginalisation of the voices of older lesbians, gay and bisexual (LGB) women, within the collective discourse of "older LGBT housing". The purpose of this paper is to critically interrogate its (in)equality implications and to consider ways in which they might be overcome. Design/methodology/approach - This is a conceptual discussion that draws on the social justice model of equality developed by Nancy Fraser, specifically the domains of resources, recognition and representation. Findings - The housing needs, wishes and concerns of older LGB women are often marginalised while at the same time those of older gay men are privileged. Older LGB women's preferences for gender- and/or sexuality-specific housing are silenced within collective homogenising discourse - by researchers and activists alike - which mobilises a "mainstream" or "LGBT-specific" binary about housing options. Research limitations/implications - Research findings which do not include the voices of older lesbian, gay and bisexual women are inherently flawed. There is a need to ensure their voices - across the older age spectrum - are included. Practical implications - The voices of older LGB women in relation to older age housing need to be better heard so that they can be better resourced. Social implications - The marginalisation of older lesbian, gay and bisexual women's voices in relation to older age housing has profound equality and human rights implications. Originality/value - Critical discussions about the gendering of older LGBT housing discourse are long overdue. This paper seeks to open a dialogue about these important issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalHousing, Care and Support
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Gay and bisexual women
  • Gender
  • Housing
  • Older lesbians
  • Older LGBT
  • Sexuality
  • Social justice

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