After decades of fear, some transgender elders celebrate freedom and progress

It is hard to imagine 75-year-old Renée Imperato – the tattooed, foul-mouthed New York City trans icon dubbed “Mother” – ever putting on gloves to hide her painted nails out of fear of discrimination.

“You know what happens over the years? You just sort of get tired of that. And now, I’m probably the opposite. I’ll take my gloves off deliberately,” Imperato told ABC News.

For transgender elders like Imperato, today’s world is a stark contrast to the world they once lived in.

Acceptance of the transgender community has grown throughout Imperato’s life, and representation of the community as a whole has risen with it.

However, aging transgender elders are a rare sight – 0.3% of those ages 65 and older identify as transgender compared to 1.4% of those ages 13 to 17, according to one estimate.

Click here to read the full piece. This story was originally published by ABC News on June 3, 2024.