Friends come in all shapes and sizes
And friendships are formed across a broad spectrum of political, religious or socio-economic groups as well as between folks of any gender or sexual orientation. That is the beauty of the world we live in today. For some seniors however, who may have come of age in a different time, or perhaps in a different country, the experience of making friends might have been more challenging if you belonged to a group that identifies as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans or queer. We know that making friends as a senior can be challenging enough and finding folks who might share the same interests as you might be even more daunting – particularly if you still feel like some of those old prejudice might exist. At Amintro we’re happy to share that our focus is on friendships – period.
In a report authored by the Government of Canada (Employment and Social Development) social isolation was identified as a “silent reality” experienced by many seniors but often, especially those from the LGBTQ community. The report acknowledges that there are in fact no statistics currently available to track how many seniors (defined as over 65) identify as LGBTQ. Further, completed in 2017, it goes on to suggest that the youngest of Canadian seniors (turning age 65 in 2017) would have already been in their late teens when homosexuality was finally de-criminalized in 1969. This means they likely grew up with an entirely different set of experiences from those coming of age in the 21st century and in fact, that many may not even align with the currently “accepted” definitions of LGBTQ. In other words, we’ve still got some serious work to do when it comes to fostering an environment of openness and understanding amongst the senior community.
This same report goes on to define social isolation as someone having poor quality, infrequent or even no contact with their peers. This type of isolation exists often more so in the LGBTQ community because, despite legal changes that have led to greater openness and acceptance, the negative effects of past discrimination continue to contribute to the “invisibility of seniors in that community. In fact, many have grown older convinced that it is better to keep their sexual orientation or gender identity a secret.” This is a sad state of affairs and one which, in our own small way, we hope to help address. Amintro exists to help change the senior experience of making friends and that applies whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or the heterosexual community.
This report, we believe, highlights some of the negative realities of being a senior and a member of the LGBTQ community. But perhaps your experience is different. Maybe you’ve always experienced acceptance and/or maybe you’ve developed very strong skills in resiliency and effective coping strategies. If that’s the case you have something very valuable to offer to other seniors – a friendship that is grounded in a solid sense of self and an ability to help support others in their journey. For other seniors, due to the environment of inclusivity and openness we now experience more regularly here in North America, they might actually feel free to finally express themselves and the senior years are the first time that they are navigating the world openly. Having like-minded friends around (of any gender and orientation) to support other friends (at whatever stage of their journey) will help to eliminate those feelings of social isolation and exclusion. At the end of the day – isn’t that what friendship is really all about?
Finding someone who shares the same interests and hobbies, or the same desire to travel or simply someone to go to the movies with, have a cup of coffee or take a pottery lesson together. At Amintro, we help grown ups make new friends in a new and exciting way – offering a free App that allows you to answer a few simple questions about yourself, upload your interests profile and maybe even a profile picture and then you can search our data base for new friends. At the same time, we’ll search it too – proposing matches based on your profile and your geographic proximity to one another. Visit Amintro to learn more – if you’re 50+, Hetero, LGBTQ or otherwise, let’s face it, we are all in this “aging thing” together!
Written by Sheralyn Roman