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The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding
Mental Health Status
Depression levels and suicidality appear to be elevated among older lesbians and gay men. Less research has been conducted in this area among bisexual and transgender elders.
Physical Health Status
It appears that rates of hysterectomy, oral contraceptive use, and hormone replacement therapy may be similar for lesbians, bisexual women, and heterosexual women.
Lesbians and bisexual women may have higher rates of breast cancer than heterosexual women.
Data on whether lesbians have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease are conflicting.
Limited research suggests that transgender elders may experience negative health outcomes as a result of long-term hormone use.
HIV/AIDS impacts not only younger but also older LGBT individuals. However, few HIV prevention programs target older adults, a cohort that also has been deeply affected by the losses inflicted by AIDS.
Disability among LGBT elders is a topic rarely considered in research.
Risk and Protective Factors
LGBT elders experience stigma, discrimination, and victimization across the life course.
Little research examines violence experienced by LGBT elders, but some studies suggest that LGBT elders report high rates of lifetime experiences with violence.
Some research suggests that, compared with their heterosexual counterparts, LGB elders may have higher rates of tobacco and alcohol use. Research on tobacco and alcohol use among transgender elders is largely lacking.
There is some evidence of crisis competence (resilience and perceived hardiness) within older LGBT populations; however, this concept is not yet well understood and has not been thoroughly researched.
Very limited data suggest that education may play a protective role in the lives of some older LGBT people.
Limited research suggests that LGBT elders may be less likely to seek health services than the general population.