K E Y W O R D S . Social support, homosexuality, mental health, physical health, support networks, internalized homophobia, loneliness
Most people have opinions about aging, and many people have thoughts about homosexuality. But few individuals have considered them simultaneously. In fact, many scholars, advocates for older adults, and other individuals consider the terms gay and aging to be incompatible. Consequently, there have been comparatively few studies about the lives of older lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. As a result, not only have the members of this segment of the aging population remained invisible, but myths and stereotypes have been created about them and have persisted. We decided to ask older lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals across the country about their lives and to learn from their telling. Specifically, we designed this study to meet the following needs: (a) to give visibility to the experiences of older lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people in the gay and lesbian, aging, and academic communities; (b) to combat the myths and stereotypes about older lesbians and gay men; and (c) to expand our knowledge about older lesbians, gay men and bisexual people so as to enhance resources and programs to meet their needs.