Seniors what ONA churches can do

Four million LGBT elders by 2030

There are at least two million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people 65 and older in the U.S., and this population will double by the year 2030. Many LGBT seniors are isolated and lonely. Often subject to mistreatment in retirement communities and nursing homes, they need the resources churches can provide. The majority of these seniors have been alienated from organized religion for most of their lives: an Open and Affirming congregation can be a lifeline to community, understanding and respect. Your congregation can:

  • Contact their local LGBT community center: many of these centers organize programs for LGBT seniors, which need volunteer and financial support.
  • Host a weekly social club for LGBT seniors—a potential ministry for younger and older members of the congregation.
  • Organize a screening in your community of “Gen Silent“—a powerful documentary that tells the stories of six at-risk LGBT seniors. Invite your neighbors and community leaders.
  • In partnership with other welcoming congregations, investigate the circumstances of LGBT seniors in your community, and contact the LGBT advocacy groups listed on this page for ideas on how you can help.
  • Use the Coalition’s evangelism resources for tips on how you can effectively reach LGBT elders—and your other LGBT neighbors.
An effective ministry for LGBT seniors is an opportunity for partnership with your LGBT community center and other welcoming churches and synagogues. If your church is the only LGBT-welcoming congregation in your community, and there is no LGBT community center, there are still likely to be LGBT seniors—most of them closeted—who can be reached if you publicly affirm your welcome.

Gen Silent (excerpt)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people who fought the first battles for equality now face so much fear of discrimination, bullying and abuse that many are hiding their lives to survive. Thousands are dying earlier than their straight counterparts because they are isolated and afraid to ask for help. But a growing number of people are fighting to break the silence. Use this powerful documentary as the starting point for a discussion in your church about the needs of LGBT elders in your community.

How to order Gen Silent for your church