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Golden years? Many older gays and lesbians worry about their futures

BY ANA VECIANA-SUAREZ, AVECIANA@MIAMIHERALD.COM

They were the pioneering generation, the ones who protested during the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, marched on Washington 10 years later to demand civil rights and fought for recognition during the AIDS epidemic. But now as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender baby boomers age, many worry about social isolation, discrimination from healthcare workers and a social service agencies and a government that has yet to meet their needs.

“LGBT boomers share many of the same concerns as other boomers,” says John Migliaccio, director of research and gerontology for MetLife Mature Market Institute. “But you have to add a layer that other boomers don’t face — and that’s their concern about discrimination.”

It’s a concern that’s well founded. Most LGBT boomers have faced some degree of prejudice. They came of age at a time when their sexual orientation was considered a mental illness and, in some states, a crime. Many became estranged from their families when they stepped out of the closet. Others lost friends. And though society has become more accepting, some still feel they must remain private about their sexual orientation, particularly at the office.

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Then there is the prejudice from the younger LGBTs. For some reason the path we laid out for our younger brothers and sisters has somehow given them an opportunity to be rude, obnoxious, and stuck up. I'd like to know why.

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