SAGE Releases Groundbreaking Data on LGBTQ+ Elders at IFA Global Conference

New report reveals need for heightened international advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ older people
[New York, NY] This year’s 14th International Federation on Ageing (IFA) Global Conference includes a heightened focus on LGBTQ+ aging, with three special “town hall” sessions, numerous workshops, and an LGBTQ+-inclusive “Addressing Inequalities Summit.” As part of the conference, SAGE will release the results of a groundbreaking report, highlighting first-of-its-kind data that illustrates the experiences of LGBTQ+ older people across the globe.

SAGE’s report, Public Attitudes Toward Aging Sexual and Gender Minorities Around the World, features data drawn from the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey on Sexual, Gender and Sex Minorities. The ILGA Survey reached 116,000 respondents in 75 countries (plus Hong Kong and Taiwan), with a minimum of 1,000 respondents in each country, and as a result, provides wide-ranging evidence of public attitudes around the world.

Global research about LGBTQ+ aging is sparse, making this new report particularly important. Given that the social experiences of LGBTQ+ older people are shaped to a significant degree by their age peers, the report’s focus on the social attitudes of older adults with regard to sexual orientation (SO) and gender identity (GI) minorities provides critical new insight. Overall, the new report suggests major challenges for LGBTQ+ older people when it comes to social acceptance by their age peers.

The report reveals several key findings:

  • Globally for people who 55 and older, only 41% know someone from a SO minority; 32% know someone from a GI minority
  • Knowing someone from a SO or GI minority significantly increases support for equal rights
  • Less than 40% of survey respondents of all ages are comfortable socializing with SO and GI minorities
  • 65+ are most likely to experience discomfort with socializing

“Invisibility and isolation among older sexual orientation and gender identity minorities across the globe leads to neglect and abuse,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “This survey produces critically important data to understand the social attitudes that reinforce this discrimination and isolation, an invaluable first step toward breaking the invisibility and focusing attention on the needs of these highly vulnerable elders.”

It is clear that older SO and GI minorities face particularly significant challenges when it comes to social acceptance by their peers, in turn making a powerful case for heightened advocacy on their behalf across the globe.

“It is quite evident that despite progress to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, there is still a great deal of work to be done,” says Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General for the International Federation on Ageing. “Older LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face layers of discrimination – this is unacceptable and must be addressed through a clear action plan that seeks to eradicate behaviors that impact a person’s human rights.”

As part of the IFA Conference, SAGE and its partners will call on governments, industries, organizations, and individuals to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ older people. Join us in the global movement to combat inequality and ageism by committing to protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ older people.


SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at