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Pride Month: LGBTQIA+ seniors are at higher risk for loneliness and isolation

Happy Pride Month! Did you know that Pride Month is celebrated in June largely due to the Stonewall Riots? On the morning of June 28, 1969, the New York Police Department raided a gay bar known as The Stonewall Inn. The police’s aggressive behavior caused several people to fight back, leading to a series of riots that would eventually be called the Stonewall Riots. Despite gay rights movements existing long before this, the Stonewall Riots made a ripple across the globe, sparking conversation in the media regarding gay rights. In June of 1970, activists hosted the first pride parade, marching across New York City. Marches and parades also took place in June in San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The name “Pride” was chosen to bolster LGBTQI+ rights and movements and to combat shame and social stigma.

Since then, celebrations of pride have spread throughout the United States and around the world. In 2000, Bill Clinton designated June to officially be “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,'' with Barack Obama changing it to “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month”in 2009 to make it more inclusive. In June of 2015, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Today, Pride Month is celebrated to recognize any and all people who identify as LGBTQIA+, including those who are not out yet. Pride also celebrates taking a stand against discrimination and violence toward LGBTQIA+ individuals, pushing for self-affirmation, dignity, and equality for all.

It is also important to note that in the past, certain people have been left out of pride events – transgender and nonbinary individuals and people of color – which is why there is a new Progress Pride flag to include those who have historically been left out.

Progress Pride Flag:

Other group specific Pride flags:

At Coal Creek Meals on Wheels, we believe that everyone should have access to nutritious meals and social contact, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Many of our clients are older adults, and identifying as an LGBTQIA+ senior comes with its own challenges. According to, LGBTQIA+ seniors:

  1. Are twice as likely to live alone

  2. Are four times less likely to have children

  3. Receive care from their partner 54% of the time and from a friend 24% of the time

  4. Would be more comfortable in long-term care homes if staff had training specific to their needs

  5. Are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS - in 2018, people aged 50 and older made up more than 15% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S.

  6. Are twice as likely to be discriminated against when looking for senior housing - over 30% of LGBTQIA+ seniors worry they may have to hide their identity to get senior housing

  7. Have fewer financial resources than non-LGBTQIA+ seniors

  8. Are twice as likely to feel a lack of community and social support.

It is important to recognize that LGBTQIA+ seniors are at a disadvantage, and there is more work to be done to ensure they feel comfortable and have access to resources to meet their needs. Everyone deserves to age with pride and live independently in their own homes.

If you are interested in learning more or supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, check out these resources on how to best support:

Pride Month is about celebrating those who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, learning and reflecting, and acknowledging the ongoing challenges faced in this community. We encourage you to take some time this month and every month to learn, grow, and support those in our community who need it most!

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