Coping with Abuse Inside the Family and Out: LGBT and/or Male Victims of Elder Abuse
An estimated 1.5 million U.S. adults aged 65+ have a same-sex or both/all-sex sexual orientation. Another 1 % has a gender identity different than the sex they were assigned at birth. What can make elder abuse different for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) elders is not their sexuality or gender identity, but how others—ranging from their closest family members to strangers thousands of miles away in buildings devoted to law making, law enforcement, and policy interpretation—have created the environments in which sexual and gender minorities have had to survive. This chapter explores what makes LGBT elder abuse victims different from non-LGBT victims; reviews studies of LGBT elder abuse; and discusses LGBT-specific elder abuse tactics and reasons victims may not access or accept help. It also explores the additional barriers faced by male LGBT elder abuse victims, including how male victims have been affected by the history of programs addressing domestic violence and sexual assault; what research says about them; how sexual assault has been defined so as to exclude male victims and female perpetrators; how male socialization negatively affects male victims’ ability to access help; and how service systems biases play out for male and/or transgender survivors. The chapter closes with research challenges, future directions, recent federal efforts to make services more available to male and/or LGBT victims, and advice and resources for working with LGBT elder abuse victims.
KeywordsLesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender LGBT Sexual orientation Gender identity Elder abuse Sexual assault Discrimination Intimate partner violence
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