As Gays Age, Retirement Communities Become Next Challenge

Category: LGBT Retirement

December 17 — Gays and Lesbians in America have overcome many barriers and achieved more tolerance in many areas of their lives. Society is generally more accepting, workplaces have changed to accommodate domestic partner rights, even the armed forces are less restrictive. But as baby boomer gays and lesbians (LGBTs) begin to retire in large numbers, they are finding that retirement communities are the next frontier.

A recent 3 part article, The Senior Situation, at Gaywired.com profiled the many complex situations that many boomers face as they entire the world of retirement.

The number 1 issue that most gays are finding is that the residents of most existing retirement communities are not quite ready for people who have come out of the closet. A lack of acceptance by residents and sensitivity by employees frequently compromises the retirement experience. Chuck Kerpec, a 30-veteran of the senior living industry writes in Part II that: “Having worked in the industry as long as I have, I wouldn’t be comfortable living in the retirement communities that are available today”. Part III of the series talks about the conflict between younger gays and those of retirement age. David Latina, president of Oakland, Calif.-based Barbary Lane Senior Communities, suggests “many LGBT youngsters haven’t yet stepped up to the plate because the gay community, in general, is ageist”. Barbary Lane is a 46-unit operation that describes itself as “a place where every letter of LGBT can live life to the fullest and love without boundaries”.

For further Reference:
See Topretirements news story on cohousing, including info on Alapine, a lesbian community in northeastern Alabama.

Posted by Admin on December 17th, 2007

22 Comments »

  1. How can I find these articles

    Editor’s Note: The Gaywired.com articles appear to have been deleted. In fact the we have had difficulty getting that site to come up. Perhaps it is temporarily down.

    by chuck — February 22, 2013

  2. thx for including LGBT issues on this website. i’m living in an active adult community in FL. it is near Miami. i’ve been advised to ‘not come out’ here. it goes against my grain but i’ll heed the warning to keep peace. i have nothing to prove by flaunting my sexuality. i’ve lived a str8 life most of my life and i can continue. my actual ‘life’ goes beyond the gates of my community. I prefer living in a ‘mixed’ environment rather than ‘all gay’ anyway. it’s what i know. Comments?

    by Tom — February 23, 2013

  3. Chuck and John, I found this on the Internet re Gaywired: http://www.bilerico.com/2009/08/unplugged_gaywiredcom_calls_it_quits.php
    They are gone, due to financial concerns.

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)

    by Jan Cullinane — February 23, 2013

  4. The lack of response to this post in comparison to other general posts discussing retirement issues only serves as an example as to why many older LGBT couples/families are more likely to stay where or near they lived when they reach retirement age. Not many people want to discuss this issue – however it’s a real one that retirees are going to have to deal with.

    Our situation is in a unique in that we have a daughter still in school – and my partner of 25+years and I have reached a point where we have the income to consider early retirement (we are in our mid-fifties). We live in CA now, but the taxes are killing us here. We are not big fans of the Desert so “Palm Springs”, the LGBT retirement hub, is not a consideration for us. We are looking in FL this Summer to see how we like it there, because we have family there. However we will most likely be looking to live outside of a 55+ retirement community. We own property in HI, but the thought of building a house is overwhelming (we have redone two houses & know all the headaches associated with construction). We continue to look in HI hoping that we can find a home or a large enough condo so that when our daughter finishes high school we will not need to move. However the cost of living in HI is high too.

    We don’t know what to do yet. For those that are not gay, and not living in a retirement community, how would you feel if a gay faamily moved in down the street from you?

    by Jeffrey M — February 23, 2013

  5. To Jeffrey M. – My husband and I would welcome you and your family in our community. As a matter of fact, we already have two gay couples in our 55+ community. We live in Massachusetts though where the snow is deep and winter is cold. And, Massachusetts is noted, for the most part, for being pretty liberal.

    by Carole — February 24, 2013

  6. Hi Jeffrey:

    If you are already looking at Florida, you might check-out Key West. It might be a good fit. Janet

    by Janet — February 24, 2013

  7. I would be happy to have you as neighbors…I like diversity, that said I would not like to live in a all or mostly gay community…I like diversity.

    by Elaine — February 24, 2013

  8. Hi Jeffrey,
    I am not gay nor do I live in a community as of yet. However, I currently reside in CA and have several gay friends with families. When the time comes in the next two years to move to a 55+ community, I will specifically be looking for those communities that are both diverse and accepting of all residents. I personally could not live in a “cookie cutter” community where diversity is discouraged.

    by Carol Ann — February 24, 2013

  9. Hi Jeffrey,

    What about retiring in or close to a college town? For example, Clintonville, Ohio is close to Columbus, the capital, and Ohio University, with its 50,000 students. The Columbus area has about a 7 percent LGBT population. If you Google “Campus Pride” you can see a rating of how gay-friendly different college communities are, and if the college setting is city, urban, suburban, etc. (You do have to enter your name and email to get access to the list.) And, of course, college town offer a multitude of perks including entertainment, culture, life-long learning, and perhaps great medical care.

    Best,

    Jan Cullinane, author
    The Single’s Woman’s Guide to Retirement
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — February 25, 2013

  10. Hello Jeffrey. We would welcome you to our community. We live in Kingwood, Texas (in a bedroom community of Houston). Altho’ Texas is a very conservative state – Houston is not. Kingwood (we have found) is very conservative but we have found friends here who are are not and have friends of all political persuasions. When we first moved here 8 years ago our community was largely caucasian. However, we are seeing a much more diverse demographic which is a good thing we believe. We are a racially mixed couple and wondered as you do how we would be accepted when we moved here… We have had no problems. No matter where you move – I’m sure I don’t have to tell you and your partner – people either like you or they don’t. That’s their problem I reckon – as long as they stay on their side of the fence and make good neighbors. You get a lot for your money here and Houston is a wonderful locale for a wide range of interests, altho’ the weather in summer is horrendous. My advice would be to choose an urban setting rather than in the ‘burbs tho’…. more diverse in most cities. Best of luck and let us know which you choose.

    by sheila — February 25, 2013

  11. As a long-term couple (25+years), now a family with our own daughter born via surrogacy, we’re often told we don’t fall into most typical gay communities. However it’s nice to see that changing – we were the “New Normal” 15 years ago! 😉 I think the comments I’m hearing are encouraging. We are not looking to be surrounded by only other gay people, were looking for acceptance and diversity as well. Massachusetts is not an option for us (we left NYC because it was too cold there), the Midwest is out for us due to family issues, TX just gets too darn hot, I don’t do well in heat. And we both want to be near water. We will see how things look in FL this summer. However, it is nice to hear positive feedback from a few of you – perhaps some are becoming more tolerant as we grey together. I look forward to hearing from others that may have gays living in their communities. Thanks.

    by Jeffrey M — February 26, 2013

  12. For most of us retiring this isn’t an issue. We already live in communities with gay friends, from stodgy old married couples to young, party kids. Why would retirement be any different? These taboos are literally dying off. As a straight person I would not want to live some place that wasn’t accepting of gays.

    by easilyamused — February 27, 2013

  13. Easily amused- you have no idea how hateful some of the language can get on a golf course in FL, TX, even GA and the Carolina’s when the subject turns to Gays. God bless my 77 year old father who ladt last year intoduced my parter as his “Son-in-Law” to some of the members of hiss golf club, that he has played with in the past, that are fairly conservative, only to learn later he would never be asked back to play with some of them simply for accepting his son’s domestic partner. One man even made a comment to both my partner & father that its no “Law” he ever heard of. Oh well – bigotry is going to exist & I have no plans to try to change anyone’s beliefs or offend anyone’s religious beliefs. We do have great neighbors here in CA, one older couple deeply religious who we had become very close to “over the fence” like Shelia stated. I’m going to steal that phrase by the way – because that is the kind of acceptance we are looking for. Some of the best pensions come from career military, police & civil service. Many if these groups are very conservative and very close minded – even though I have family that are part of both groups ( military & law enforcement ) gay MEN are just thought of in sterotypical ways. We can only hope this will change. However – does anyone here have any info on Sarasota, St Petersburg FL, or Sedona areas? We’d welcome any feedback regarding these communities. Thanks again for keeping this conversation going and open. Also if you wouldn’t like knowing that Gays may be moving into your community – you should also feel free to share your thoughts. This forum is ment to be open & honest and no one will fault you for your thoughts or feelings. Let’s just try to be civil with no name calling. It would be just as helpful to know where we are NOT welcome as it is to know where we are. Thanks.

    by Jeffrey M — February 27, 2013

  14. Back in early December (from the 3rd to the 13th), I wrote about our road trip to find a condo/house on the west coast of Florida. We began in Fort Myers and ended in Bradenton. You can read about the few communities we visited in the article, Tell us where are you going to retire – and why? at http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/tell-us-where-you-are-going-to-retire-and-why.html/ There were many responses too that are just as valuable.

    by Carole — February 27, 2013

  15. My partner/wife of 25 years and I are planning on retiring in Nov 2015 and would like to rent in a gay friendly area at first. Any suggestions, we’re middle class income.

    by Barbara — April 14, 2015

  16. I a a single lesbian who has lived in the closest most of my life due to career. Have a home in Asheville and am “out” there but still in closet in the other city where I spend most if my time.
    Looking to relocate north as the heat is getting to me here. Want to create a community of friends, gay and straight as continue to age.currently 64. Any suggestions?

    by Scootermama55 — April 16, 2015

  17. Have you heard of Ann Arbor, MI? It is on some lists of “best places to retire.” I am straight and live two hours north of the city, but it has always had a progressive, forward-thinking atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed visiting many times. It is the home of the University of Michigan and offers great cultural events and food. Spring, summer and fall have nice, moderate weather. Winters last 3 to 4 months; are cold, with snow. Here is a link from MI.org:
    http://www.michigan.org/hot-spots/ann-arbor/

    FYI – Ypslinati is a suburb of Ann Arbor and more affordable. The northern resort cities of Charleviox and Traverse City are friendly and fun to visit. On the other side, there are other areas of Michigan that are ultra-conservative.

    Good luck!

    by Cindy — April 17, 2015

  18. Saugatuck, MI! Yesterday I recommended Ann Arbor, MI, (and still do) although I just remembered Saugatuck. It is another place in southern Michigan. It would get you out of the hot weather. It has the four seasons. Three seasons are moderate, but winters are harsher on that side of the state due to lake-effect snows from Lake Michigan. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. The primary business culture is tourism. It has had an openly gay community for decades. http://www.saugatuck.com/index.asp

    Both places are great. From what I’ve seen and heard, Saugatuck is a friendly, close-knit community. Ann Arbor is bigger and offers a larger variety of diversity, especially with the University and it’s highly-respected hospital.

    by Cindy — April 18, 2015

  19. There are two areas in Massachusetts which are known for their gay and lesbian populations, the former is at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, the latter is in Northampton. Both these areas have 4 seasons. Cape Cod winters can be harsh, but summers are fantastic.

    I do not know about any 55+ communities, but they towns have long been accepted as welcoming GLBT places.

    by Lynne — April 18, 2015

  20. For men and women: This site might be of help: http://www.gayretirementguide.com/

    For women: for my book, I interviewed several lesbians to ask about their living arrangements. One (Kathy H.) lives in and loves the Resort on Carefree Boulevard (www.resortoncb.com) in Fort Myers, Florida. It’s a community of manufactured homes, and residents range from 40 – 80 years old.

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley)

    by Jan Cullinane — April 18, 2015

  21. Portland, Maine is a great town; very diverse and gay friendly. It has great restaurants, lots of cultural events, pretty, and tons of recreation. I would like to retire in Portland but my wife wants to somewhere warmer.

    by Karen — April 19, 2015

  22. Jeffery

    If you can not tolerate the heat, the best time to go check out Florida is in the summer! I went in July and there are no words to describe how hot it is there.

    by nancy irber — April 20, 2015

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