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 LGBTQ 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 your local LGBTQ community center: many of these centers organize programs for LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ seniors. Invite your neighbors and community leaders.
  • In partnership with other welcoming congregations, investigate the circumstances of LGBTQ seniors in your community, and contact the LGBTQ advocacy groups listed on this page for ideas on how you can help.
  • Use the Coalition’s resources for tips on how you can effectively reach LGBTQ elders—and your other LGBTQ neighbors.

An effective ministry for LGBTQ seniors is an opportunity for partnership with your LGBTQ community center and other welcoming churches and synagogues. If your church is the only LGBTQ-welcoming congregation in your community, and there is no LGBTQ community center, there are still likely to be LGBTQ seniors—most of them closeted—who can be reached if you publicly affirm your welcome.

Excerpt from Gen Silent documentary

Gen Silent

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 LGBTQ elders in your community.