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Unheard voices: A qualitative study of LGBT+ older people experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

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JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Jul 2021
DatePublished (current) - 6 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper reports findings from a qualitative study into the immediate
impact of social distancing measures on the lives of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and trans (LGBT+) older people (≥60 years) living in the UK
during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on in-depth
interviews with 17 older people and 6 key informants from LGBT+
community-based organisations, exploring the strategies used to
manage their situations, how they responded and adapted to key
challenges. Five themes emerged related to: 1) risk factors for LGBT+
older people and organisations, including specific findings on trans
experiences,;2) care practices in LGBT+ lives,;3) strengths and benefits
of networking 4) politicisation of ageing issues and their relevance to
LGBT+ communities; and 5) learning from communication and provision
in a virtual world. The findings illuminate adaptability and many
strengths in relation to affective equality and reciprocal love, care and
support among LGBT+ older people. It is vital UK that the government
recognises and addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT+ older
people during emergencies.

What is known: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the wider
governmental and societal response, brought health inequalities into
sharp focus, exposing the structural disadvantage and discrimination
faced by many marginalised communities in the UK and globally. LGBT+
older people are known to experience health inequalities compounded
by anticipated or poor experiences of accessing health and social care
services.

What this paper adds: An exploration of LGBT+ older peple, their
communities and social networks and how these were adapted in the
COVID-19 context. Trans older people have been affected in very
specific ways. The findings illuminate adaptability and many strengths in
relation to affective equality and reciprocal love, care and support among
LGBT+ older people. It is vital UK that the government recognises and
addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT+ older people during
emergencies.

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Health and Social Care.

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