This week two articles in different countries have focused on the challenges that GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] seniors have in accessing services in their community as they age.

Research from LaTrobe University in Australia indicates that the majority of ageing service providers are unaware or unresponsive to the needs of gay and lesbian clients, forcing them to retreat back into the ‘closet’.

A lead story in Newsweek points out the difficulties gay and lesbian senior citizens in New York City have in gaining recognition of their unique needs and challenges.

In June 2008, the European Commission declared that it will propose a cross-cutting directive aimed at combating discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion/belief and sexual orientation in areas outside the field of employment.

The EU is taking steps in the right direction. As the population ages it is important that all older people have access to services, despite their differences. Providers are now learning how to address the needs of a much wider variety of residents from different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Sexual orientation should be included in their thinking.

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