The city is working towards the creation of seniors housing that is dedicated to the gay and lesbian community. Council’s community services committee heard from Age Friendly Edmonton, and about how some ‘bullying’ goes on in seniors complexes.
“Many times agencies who operate them don’t realize that, don’t look at that, and don’t realize that it’s happening,” said Michael Phair. “And most gays and lesbians, if that happens to them are fearful about taking that up and bringing it forward because their experience in the past has been very negative about that. They’re usually told to ‘suck it up. You can live with it.'”
Phair cited a survey of 150, from the gay and lesbian community aged 55 and over, suggesting how uncomfortable it can get. Phair told the committee about how it is when old attitudes from decades ago, resurface.
“Their experience has been many times extremely difficult,” said Michael Phair. “Many they’ve found themselves having to hide who they are and the sense of having to deal with that again, when you’re 65, 70, 75, 80 is very overwhelming.”
The city will do a feasibility study to see if a segment of seniors housing that is being built, many on surplus school sites, can include this segment of housing.
“You can never act soon enough on discrimination,” said Coun. Michael Walters. “I don’t think it’s fair to leave a situation of discrimination couched in a broader strategy where we’ll just wait and see. I think we need to start dealing with it a little more quickly.”
“This specific issue where we have late in life discrimination of the LGBTQ community that we can address, I think we should do that.”
The study should take a year to complete.