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Age Scotland launches Older People's LGBTQ+ network

16 November 2022

Age Scotland has launched its Older People’s LGBTQ+ network, a new platform to amplify the voices and uphold the rights of LGBTQ+ people over 50 across Scotland.

The network, officially launched at an event in Edinburgh attended by Christina McKelvie, minister for equalities and older people, is a diverse space for older LGBTQ+ people to share experiences, highlight the needs of LGBTQ+ older people, address inequalities and bring about change.

The network has already begun work with the Scottish Government to ensure legislation affecting older people is inclusive of older LGBTQ+ people, contributed to a new Age Scotland dementia training programme and forged a partnership with the Open University to give a  public health talk about ageing and the LGBTQ+ community.

Susanne Flynn, Age Scotland’s diversity and inclusion officer, said:

“The network is an important platform for LGBTQ+ older people to raise inequality issues and for their voice to be heard so that they can be pioneers to bring about the change which meets their needs and upholds their rights.  

“Our regular group meetings have been a place where members have shared their lived experiences as people of the LGBTQ+ community. It is a place where they don’t have to put up barriers or worry about discrimination and can just be themselves. Our members come from a diverse range of backgrounds, have different life experiences and are from all over Scotland. The variety of experiences within the group show that LGBTQ+ people are not a homogenous grouping.

“It is important for organisations at different levels to consider that ageing looks different if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community due to different barriers faced throughout life. It is refreshing that many organisations are keen to consult and consider LGBTQ+ experiences in their work and this will hopefully lead to positive change for future.

“We co-produce a lot of our work, so will take the stories and voices of LGBTQ+ older people into these projects. We are working continually to ensure our membership base is diverse so that we can fully represent those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Christina McKelvie, the Minister for Equalities and Older People, said:

“I welcome the launch of Age Scotland’s Older People LGBTQ+ network today.

“It is important to ensure people of all ages within the LGBTQ+ community have a voice. This new network offers a platform for older LGBTQ+ people to share their wealth of experience and to help improve equality across age groups. 

“The Scottish Government has already engaged with the network on key legislation which affects older LGBTQ+ people in Scotland, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”