‘We see it as being heterosexualised, being put into a care home’: gender, sexuality and housing/care preferences among older LGB individuals in the UK

Sue Westwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers the lack of choice in sheltered housing and residential/nursing care provision for older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals in the UK. While there is a growing body of knowledge about their concerns about current options, the precise kinds of alternative provision which older LGB individuals would prefer are not yet well understood. This article reports on a qualitative study conducted in 2012 which aimed to explore ageing, gender and sexuality from an equalities perspective. The study deployed semi-structured interviews with 60 older LGB individuals living in the UK, and used a thematic analysis approach to the data. This paper describes one aspect of the data, relating to participants’ concerns about health and social care provision. The analysis identified several key themes underpinning older LGB individuals’ concerns about mainstream sheltered accommodation and residential care, namely: lack of visibility, risky visibility, unequal openness and compulsory co-occupation of care spaces. It highlights the significance of gender for housing/care preferences, with a greater proportion of older LGB women wanting gender- and/or sexuality-specific provision compared with men. The social policy, equality and human rights implications of these findings are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e155-e163
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number6
Early online date24 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • bisexual
  • choice
  • gay
  • lesbian
  • queer
  • residential care
  • sheltered housing

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