Health Queer News

Documentary “Gen Silent” Explores Discrimination Faced by LGBT Seniors

Above photo: Lawrence Johnson, right, cares for his 86-year-old partner Alexandre Rheaume, who has Parkinson’s. In “Gen Silent,” Johnson struggles to find a nursing home for Rheaume where the couple can feel safe and comfortable about their relationship. 

Coast Weekend reports — ASTORIA — What would you do if you were old, disabled or ill and the person feeding you put down the spoon and said you are going to hell unless you change your sexual preference? Sound absurd? Social workers around the world say it’s happening every day.

“Gen Silent,” a critically acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Stu Maddux, chronicles the lives of six lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors as they deal with a healthcare system that is sometimes hostile to their lifestyles.

A film screening of “Gen Silent” will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 16 in Room 219 of Clatsop Community College’s Columbia Hall. The event is free and open to the public. A discussion will follow the film.

“Gen Silent” puts a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: LGBT older people so afraid of discrimination by caregivers or bullying by other seniors that many go back into the closet. The film also shows the disparity in the quality of paid caregiving from mainstream care facilities committed to making LGBT residents safe and happy compared to places where LGBT elders face discrimination.

Following the film, there will be a discussion with Max Micozzi, a program coordinator from SAGE Metro Portland, about the barriers to healthcare and housing for the LGBT community. Refreshments will be provided.

To register, email or call 503-861-4205.

This event is put on by the Lower Columbia Q Center, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), and NorthWest Senior & Disability Services in Warrenton.



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