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LGBT Aging in the Rural Context

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This chapter examines the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults living in rural regions of the United States. It begins by reviewing the two concepts of rural and nonmetropolitan, how they differ from one another, and the difficulty in comparing studies of rural populations because of the resulting ambiguity in defi nition between the two. Despite these challenges, there exists a broad literature on rural populations, and the chapter reviews three aspects of rural communities: the conditions and status of older rural adults; what is known about the lives of rural LGBT adults of all ages; and finally, the specific issues and concerns of rural LGBT older adults. In general, nonmetropolitan areas are more conservative and homophobic than metropolitan centers, causing many LGBT individuals in these regions of the country to remain closeted in some aspects of their lives. Moreover, the low population density in rural areas leads to far fewer opportunities for LGBT-specific social gatherings. These difficulties are compounded for older, rural LGBT adults who may have less access to transportation, less comfort with online social networking, and may be more fearful of disclosure due to growing up and coming out prior to gay liberation and the development of more progressive policies. The chapter concludes with best practices for practitioners working with rural, LGBT older adults and future trends for this particular population, given the recent dramatic changes in policy related to same-sex marriage and the ubiquity of high-speed Internet enhancing opportunities for connecting online.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-01-01

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  • This landmark annual review has provided nearly three decades of knowledge, insight, and research on topics critical to gerontologists everywhere. The purpose of this annual review is to critically examine the full gamut of literature on key topics in gerontology and geriatrics, including social and cultural issues, medicine, psychology, economics, and end-of-life issues. ARGG continues its long tradition of professionalism under the editorship of leading experts in the field of gerontology, K. Warner Schaie and Harvey Sterns. Over the past 30 years, ARGG has brought together internationally recognized experts in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics, and continues to deliver the highest standards of content and authoritative reviews of research for students, researchers, and clinicians.
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