Researching for LGBTQ Health

Understanding Subjugation and Resistance among Older Gay Men Seeking and Receiving Care in Medical Settings

In recent years, a growing body of literature on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) aging has highlighted the systemic exposure of older sexual and gender minorities to complex expressions of stigma and discrimination across a variety of social contexts, the confluence of which tends to adversely affect the social conditions and health outcomes of these groups. Older gay men have specifically been recognized as a population of concern, given this group’s exposure to the unique social history of HIV, and therefore the unique features of stigma and discrimination that are likely to typify the realities of these older adults as they access health care and social services (Addis et al., 2009). Informed by this literature, this study seeks to examine how older gay men experience the production of subjugation at the intersection of older age, gay sexuality, and HIV stigma, specifically when they access health care systems, and how they resist these systemic issues in their interactions with health services. Key informants in this study will include 30 gay men who are 50 years of age or older with recent experience accessing health care services, 15 of whom will be HIV-positive. These participants will partake in interviews in which they will be asked to discuss their overall experiences of seeking and receiving health care services as older gay men, and how they believe they navigate potential barriers to care in these contexts. Drawing on these accounts, the data will be analyzed to infer how intersectional subjugation is produced and resisted as older gay men, including those living with HIV, enter and interact with systems of care.

Main Contact:

Hannah Kia (hannah.kia@mail.utoronto.ca)

Funding Source:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Project Outcomes:

The results of this study will be used not only to further insight in the growing field of LGBTQ aging, but also to develop health care policy and practice implications that seek to address access to care in a key subpopulation of aging and sexual minorities.

Reference:

Addis, S., Davies, M., Greene, G., MacBride-Stewart, S. & Shepherd, M. (2009). The health social care and housing needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people: A review of the literature. Health and Social Care in the Community, 17, 647-658.