Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Spain's first 'gay' retirement home

I have no fear of death but I am absolutely terrified of becoming old and infirm.  The prospect of losing my independence and finding myself in a care home horrifies me.  With a bit of luck I'll keel over dead with a heart-attack before it comes to that.  The only thing that scares me more than that is to be stuck in a home surrounded by people who identify as 'straight'.  Even now, in our transformed legal world, there is a strange assumption that old people are heterosexual.  Old people - we wrongly assume - do not have sex, they revert to a sexless state and thus become re-defined as heterosexual.  For many, going into a home means going back into the closet.

There does seem some hope for men (why only men?) in Spain who identify as gay.  The Guardian reported yesterday that a group of elderly Spanish gay men are rebelling against the homophobia of their generation by setting up what will be the country's first gay and lesbian retirement home.

The retirement home would cost €1,000 (£834) a month to live in, he said – much lower than the average Madrid price of €1,400. It will have 30 staff to look after the 230 residents in the 120 apartments and studios in the complex, with some set aside for people who are HIV positive.

Whilst the issue of care has been back on the UK political agenda already this year, the focus - as ever - is on cost and not on the nature of provision.  Hopefully as the year progresses, the issue of LGBT elders will begin to be addressed more forcefully.

Read the full story here.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reports a growing need for - and growing development of - low-income housing for GLBTQ seniors in the USA. Philadelphia developers have secured a site for a gay-friendly, low-income housing project in Philadelphia. Housing developments cannot discriminate in favor of gay seniors, but a facility known to be gay-friendly and marketed as such will be appealing to gay seniors.  You can read more on that story here on the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog.

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Elly said...

I find things like this depressing.

why cant they open 'gay friendly' care homes where there is a mixture of people? what about bisexual elderly folk?

and some people are happy in the 'closet' coming out is not the be all and end all of life.

cf Anti Gay (1996) ed. Mark Simpson

Jackie said...

Not so serious, but have you read this?:

Chris Ashford said...

I haven't Jackie but I should! Thanks for the link :-)

SteelMagnolia said...

Hi Chris, only came across your blog today due to the Obscenity Trial taking place. I live in Spain and I have to tell you when it comes to being gay we are 50 years behind, it is still not accepted, maybe in Madrid or Barcelona but in a village it's a 'Oh my God take him to the doctor there must be a cure'

I am an atheist and have been told time and time again from my Catholic neighbors 'I will suffer more for being a non believer' sorry but I cannot believe in something I cannot see or touch!

Anyway love your blog and am now following you on twitter...I am an out of work actress looking for that big break...@MyNanny25...thats me!

Chris Ashford said...

Thanks SteelMagnolia - it's always worth remembering these insights. Is that universally true across Spain or is a case of once your et outside Madrid or say Barcelona? Now following you back on twitter too :-)

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