Inclusion for LGBTQ+ older adults still room for improvement

Linda Marucci, 77, remembers a time when homosexuality was listed as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

When she was 18 and a family member found a love letter to a girlfriend, Linda was taken to the emergency room of a hospital in Pennsylvania, where her family member told the astonished person at the front desk that she “needed help for being homosexual.”

“I can still recall the frozen terror of being taken to the hospital to be ‘fixed,’” Marucci said.

Marucci was then given an appointment to see a psychiatrist, but thankfully, she was discharged after three months. She called the psychiatrist a “good guy” since he said the problem wasn’t her being a lesbian. It was finding other people who were.

While Marucci is now out to her colleagues and peers, she admits that she is still hesitant to disclose her identity to medical providers at times due to this initial experience. LGBTQ+ older adults are no stranger to similar narratives, albeit with some that ended on a less positive note than Marucci’s. She pointed out that this demographic may have fewer social supports due to not being married, having children, or family members to rely on. […]

Click here to read the full piece. This story was originally published by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on May 31, 2024.