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Many elder LGBTQ+ Americans, already disproportionately isolated before the pandemic, faced greater loneliness in quarantine as they lost access to resources and community, two older LGBTQ+ Americans told Axios.
Why it matters: Data is lacking on how LGBTQ+ Americans have been affected by the coronavirus — especially older populations, who battle a myriad of complications as a high-risk and under-resourced group.
The big picture: “There’s very little if any hard data” on how LGBTQ+ Americans were affected by the pandemic, Aaron Tax, director of advocacy for SAGE, said. “What we can do is piece together the data we do have … it paints a challenging picture for LGBTQ+ older people.”
Randi Robertson, 58, a pilot instructor on the Florida space coast, retired from the Air Force at the end of 2010 and lives with her spouse and two kids. As a trans woman, she said she felt extraordinarily privileged during the pandemic compared to other transgender people.
Lujira Cooper, 73, writes fiction and lives alone in Manhattan. She worked at the 34th Street YMCA during the Stonewall riots, a historical moment that she said didn’t really affect her life.
Cooper said she was fortunate to get food delivered three times a week when the pandemic hit, although she eventually stopped deliveries to cook for herself again. Having a social worker and nurse practitioner in her building helped too.
Robertson and Cooper both said that LGBTQ+ Americans can already be isolated as they can face estrangement from family and friends. They both agreed the pandemic made it worse.
This article was originally published in AXIOS on June 26, 2021.
We’re a national advocacy and services organization that’s been looking out for LGBTQ+ elders since 1978. We build welcoming communities and keep our issues in the national conversation to ensure a fulfilling future for all LGBTQ+ people.