Glenys is a lesbian woman who had trouble finding alternative accommodation due to heterosexist harassment from other residents in her aged care home. Glenys had only spoken to four other residents about her sexual identity during the five years she had lived at the facility. After an argument regarding dining room arrangements, Glenys began to be rejected from multiple tables in the dining room and was subject to verbal insults. Sometimes the residents at a table would simply stop talking when she sat down or remove the spare chair.
Glenys decided that she would prefer to leave the home, rather than stay and contacted the Older Persons Advocacy Network for assistance. An advocate was able to help Glenys relocate to new accommodation. Once relocated the advocate connected Glenys with LGBTI-identified staff who were appropriately trained and supported Glenys to feel at home and safe and comfortable in expressing her views. The concerns regarding Glenys’ previous home were referred to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) visitor scheme was put in place.
While in this case the Older Persons Advocacy Network was proud to have achieved a positive outcome for Glenys, it is recognised that there is still significant work to be done for LGBTI clients, particularly in terms of raising awareness in the aged care sector so people feel welcome everywhere.