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Transgender and gender non-conforming adults face a myriad of challenges as they age. While very limited, the existing research on transgender people paints a picture of many people aging in isolation and without a network of knowledgeable or welcoming providers in the aging, health and social services arenas. Further, transgender elders often experience extreme disparities in access to health care and low rates of health insurance coverage due in large part to systemic discrimination from providers and insurance companies, as well as economic instability resulting from discrimination in employment and housing, among other areas. An overarching challenge for policymakersand practitioners isthe dearth in research examining the challenges facing this population--and the types of policies and programmatic interventions that would improve their lives. While the need for better data and more research on lesbian, gay and bisexual communities has gained support over the last few years, gender identity remains largely absent from the scope of social research and analysis. Moreover, few studies have addressed the specific challenges facing transgender elders. Research focused on transgender people of color is even more limited, despite some studies suggesting that they experience high levels of violence and discrimination.
Although largely invisible until recently, LGBT older adults make up a significant (and growing) part of both the overall LGBT population and the larger 65+ population. While confronted with the same challenges that face all people as they age, LGBT elders also face an array of unique barriers and inequalities that can stand in the way of a healthy and rewarding later life. This report examines these additional challenges and how they make it harder for LGBT elders to achieve three key elements of successful aging: financial security, good health and health care, and social support and community engagement. The report also offers detailed recommendations for improving the lives, and life chances, of LGBT older Americans.
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