Many older lesbians and gay men have lived through a time when their only protection
against heterosexist violence and discrimination was to make themselves invisible, to
publicly deny their sexual orientation and pass as heterosexuals (Barrett, 2008). Disclo-
sure could result in imprisonment, enforced medical interventions and “cures,” or the loss
of employment, family and friends (Barrett, 2008; Leonard, Duncan, & Barrett, 2012).
Prior to the gay liberation movement, the experience of coming out or disclosing their
sexual orientation had a detrimental impact on their sense of self, relationships and social
connections. Older lesbians and gay men are less likely than their post-liberation peers to
have had their sexual orientation affirmed or celebrated, are less likely to have developed
positive self-image and self-esteem (Cronin & King, 2014) and more likely to have expe-
rienced fracturing of significant relationships.