Aims and ObjectivesThe purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions toward aging among Portuguese gay and bisexual men over 60 years old.BackgroundDespite the growth of the older population, and the increased visibility and acceptance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in Western countries, the experience of aging in older gay and bisexual men is only beginning to be understood.DesignWe used a qualitative research methodology, based on critical gerontology, for establishing research questions and to identify the perspectives on the aging process in older gay and bisexual individuals.MethodsWe used a structured electronic inquiry with 25 gay and bisexual men over 60 years of age from Portugal. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis to help identify repeated patterns of meaning in the data set.ResultsThe recurrent themes in the narratives of the aging experiences of the participants in the study were as follows: positive perceptions of aging, negative perceptions of aging, coping with being a gay/bisexual man and family ties, professional care, homophobia/discrimination, relationships and social support, intergenerational differences, mediating role of sexual orientation, sociopolitical changes, and personal characteristics.ConclusionAnalysis of perceptions about the aging process in older gay and bisexual men emphasized the desire for normalization in the social awareness of sexual orientation. It is important to continue doing research on this topic and disseminate this information among professionals who work with older lesbian, gay, and bisexual people so that they may better understand how they can meet the specific needs of this population.
The International Journal of Aging and Human Development – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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