As the baby boomer generation ages, LGBTQ+ adults over age 55 are among the fastest-growing populations in Seattle/King County. While the U.S. census has never measured the LGBTQ+ community, reports estimate that there are currently around 3 million LGBTQ+ adults over age 50. That number is expected to grow to approximately 7 million by 2030. And yet, this community remains virtually unseen.
“LGBTQ+ seniors face disparities in disability and health, economic and social discrimination,” says Steven Knipp, executive director of GenPRIDE, a Seattle-based non-profit formed to address the needs of this underserved community.
According to the national organization, SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders), LGBTQ+ older people are twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to live alone, nearly 60% report feeling a lack of companionship, and over 50% reported feeling isolated from others. The health effects of prolonged isolation have been equated with smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2016.)
“For LGBTQ+ seniors, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified feelings of isolation and created greater urgency to find new ways to connect and combat social isolation,” says Knipp. “Our writing workshop is one such outlet. And with Unmuted, readers can experience the powerful connection through storytelling that led to this anthology.”
“I was astonished by the bonds that developed as people shared stories of personal triumph, heartbreak, and trauma,” says Knipp. “In our deeply divided world, these stories remind us that regardless of gender, sexuality, identity, race, or age, we are unified by the common ground of shared experience.”
This gripping collection of stories explores issues that have marked a generation of LGBTQ+ members: AIDS, gender identity, sexuality, persecution, and reclaiming one’s true self. Others grapple with health, family, loss, addiction, and love.
Unmuted is now available in print, e-book, and audio form. Books can be purchased directly from GenPRIDE, or via Amazon, Audible, and other online stores. (Volume discounts for print books are available.)