June 2021 - 22

EQUITY

LGBTQ+ people of
color exist at the
intersection of many
simultaneous identities
that are rarely captured
in case studies,
retention efforts, and
program or policy
reform.

Giving a Voice to LGBTQ+
Older Adults of Color
By Tiff Cunin

H

uman identity is far from simple. We live at various intersections
and experience multiplicity and fluidity of identity. This phenomenon continues as we age and as we acquire new experiences that shape the lenses through which we navigate the world. It
is important, however, to understand that people are more than the sum of
their parts and recognize how the conceptualization of identities has been
shaped by interlocking forms of oppression.
The older adult population is
booming in the United States, with
approximately 3 million adults ages
55 and older. In addition, projections
show that the number of adults ages
65 and older will more than double
by 2050 (tinyurl.com/sytrxb8). A
large segment of this population is
comprised of Black, Indigenous,
Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and
LGBTQ+ people. Population health
data often relies on white people as
the comparative reference group for

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every health outcome. LGBTQ+
people of color, however, exist at the
intersection of many simultaneous
identities that are rarely captured in
case studies, retention efforts, and
program or policy reform.

Maximizing Health
Potential
Structural, political and social factors
have shaped the long-term financial
stability of LGBTQ+ older adults
of color and are correlated to poorer

health outcomes compared to white,
non-LGBTQ+ populations. To maximize health potential, we must deal
explicitly with the racial, economic,
gender and sexuality disparities facing this population. A key strategy to
fully understanding the experiences
and perceptions of LGBTQ+ older
adults of color regarding their expectations and needs as they age is
to welcome and seek out stories from
this population that has endured
having basic human rights (let alone
civil rights) stripped away.
Dominant narratives make social
and political determinants of health
inequity invisible and instead blame
individuals for poor health. More
specifically, narratives rooted in white
supremacy suggest that oppressed
racial groups are responsible for
their own health outcomes. Counterstorytelling, a method of telling stories
and illustrating narratives of people
whose experiences are often neither
told nor heard, is useful to challenge
and change the dominant narrative.


http://www.tinyurl.com/sytrxb8

June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

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June 2021 - Cover1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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