Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2020 | 2 (19) /2020 Doświadczanie kryzysu w starości | 42-58

Article title

Sytuacja życiowa osób starszych nieheteronormatywnych – analiza przypadków w perspektywie biograficznej



Title variants

Languages of publication



In Poland, homosexual older adults born before 1960 grew up in times when heterosexuality was considered the only right sexual orientation. In the so called pre-liberation era, homosexuality was treated as mental disorder. Homosexual persons were marginalised, discriminated or even invisible in family, professional and social life. During the course of life, they experienced loneliness, isolation, shame, humiliation, disapproval and rejection from family and friends. They were under surveillance (Operation Hyacinth) and forced to enter into heterosexual marriages. Facing homophobia, they hid their sexual orientation, which caused them many sufferings or decided to defend it despite the risk of being stigmatised. As they were trying to find their place in the world, they used different strategies of dealing with difficult situations, some of them constructive (fighting for independence), some negative (addictions, suicides and suicidal thoughts), The goal of the study is to explore life situation of homosexual older people, with particular interest in difficult experiences and strategies adopted to deal with them – from the biographical perspective. a particular focus will be on dealing with own ageing. It is likely that senior homosexuals are more at risk of lonely life, disability, poverty, homelessness, social isolation, depression, alcohol addiction, housing deprivation and premature institutionalization. They have less developed support network. On the other hand, experiencing discrimination during their lives may prove helpful in dealing with the challenges of ageing. Homophobia, still present in many environments, may place older homosexual persons at risk of double invisibility – due to their age and sexual orientation. Lack of research into the situation of senior homosexuals in the Polish society results in the lack of adequate support systems and relevant education for social assistance staff. The practical objective of the study is to identify daily problems of homosexual older adults and, consequently, to develop solutions to build adequate support system. The study is qualitative, using case study and in-depth interview. Five interviews with homosexual individuals aged 60 and more were analysed.




Physical description




  • Uniwersytet Szczeciński


  • Allen, K.R., Roberto K.A. (2016). Family Relationships of Older LGBT Adults. In D.A. Harley, P.B. Teaster (eds.). Handbook of LGBT Elders An Interdisciplinary Approach to Principles,Practices, and Policies, New York: Springer.
  • Berger, P.L. (1997). Zaproszenie do socjologii. Warszawa: PWN. Chakraborty, A., McManus, S., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., King, M. (2011). Mental health of the non-heterosexual population of England. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198(2), 143–148.
  • Cronin, A., (2004). Sexuality in gerontology: a heteronormative presence, a queer absence. In S.O. Daatland, S. Biggs (eds.). Ageing and Diversity: multiple pathways and cultural migrations,Bristol: Policy Press, 107–122.
  • Cronin, A., King A. (2010). Power, inequality and identification: exploring diversity and intersectionality amongst older LGB adults. Sociology, 44, 5, 876–892.
  • Cronin, A., King A. (2014). Only connect? Older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults and social capital. Ageing & Society, 34, 258–279.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K.I., Muraco, A. (2010). Aging and Sexual Orientation: a 25-Year Review of the Literature, Research on aging, 32(3), 372–413.
  • Fredriksen-Goldsen, K.I., Kim, H.J., Barkan, S.E. (2012). Disability among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults: disparities in prevalence and risk. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), e16–e21.
  • Frost, D.M., Lehavot, K., Meyer, I.H. (2015). Minority stress and physical health among sexual minority individuals, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 1–8.
  • Harley, D.A., Teaster, P.B. (2016). Theories, Constructs, and Applications in Working with LGBT Elders in Human Services. In D.A. Harley, P.B. Teaster (eds.), Handbook of LGBT Elders An Interdisciplinary Approach to Principles, Practices, and Policies. New York: Springer.
  • Hash, K.M., Rogers A., (2013). Clinical practice with older LGBT clients: Overcoming lifelong stigma through strength and resilience. Clinical Social Work Journal, 41(3), 249–257.
  • Heaphy, B., Yip, A.K. (2003). Uneven possibilities: understanding non-heterosexual ageing and the implications of social change. Sociological Research Online, 8, 1–12.
  • Juszczyk, S. (2013). Badania jakościowe w naukach społecznych. Szkice metodologiczne. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego.
  • Kehoe, M., 1991, Loneliness and the Aging Homosexual: Is Pet Therapy the Answer? Journal of Homosexuality, 20 (3/4), 137–141.
  • Kneale, D., French, R., Henley, J., Thomas, J. (2018). Inequalities and Measurement Issues in Researching Older LGBT People’s Health and Care Needs in the UK: Scoping Review Protocol. London: EPPI-Centre, Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Kneale, D., Henley, J., Thomas, J., French, R. (2019). Inequalities in older LGBT people’s health and care needs in the United Kingdom: a systematic scoping review. Ageing & Society, 1–23.
  • Lipman, A. (1984). Homosexuals. In E. Palmore (ed.). Handbook on the aged in the United States, Westport: CT: Greenwood Press, 323– 337.
  • Mabey, J.E. (2011). Counseling older adults in LGBT communities. The professional Counselor. Research and Practice, 1(1), 57–62.
  • McParland, J., Camic, P.M., (2018). How do lesbian and gay people experience dementia?. Dementia, 17, 452–477.
  • Orel, N., (2006). Community needs assessment: Documenting the need for affirmative services for LGB older adults, In D. Kimmel, T. Rose, S. David (eds.), Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aging: Research and clinical perspective, New York: Columbia University Press, 227–246.
  • Otis, M. D., Harley D. A. (2016). The intersection of identities of LGBT elders: Race, age, sexuality, and care Network, In D. A. Harley, P. B. Teaster (eds.), Handbook of LGBT elders: An interdisciplinary approach to principles, practices, and Policie. New York: Springer, 83–101.
  • Phillips, J., Marks, G. (2008). Ageing Lesbians: Marginalising Discourses and Social Exclusion in the Aged Care Industry. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 20:1–2, 187–202.
  • Porter, M., Russell Ch., Sullivan G. (2004). Gay, Old, and Poor. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 16:2, 43–57.
  • Schütz, A. (1988). Sens działania społecznego według fenomenologii. Studia Filozoficzne, 5.
  • Simpson, P. (2016). The resources of ageing? Middle-aged gay men’s accounts of Manchester’s gay voluntary organizations. Sociological Review, 64, 366–383.
  • Sullivan, K. M. (2014). Acceptance in the domestic environment: The experience of senior housing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57, 235–250.
  • Fokkema, T., Kuyper, L. (2009). The Relation Between Social Embeddedness and Loneliness among Older Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in the Netherlands. Arch Sex Behav, Apr; 38(2), 264–75.
  • Traies, J. (2015). Old lesbians in the UK: community and friendship. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 19, 35–49.
  • Traies, J. (2016). The Lives of Older Lesbians: Sexuality, Identity & the Life Course. New York, NY: Springer.
  • Westwood, S. (2016). We see it as being heterosexualised, being put into a care home: gender, sexuality and housing/care preferences among older LGB individuals in the UK. Health & Social Care in the Community, 24, e155–e163.
  • Westwood, S., (2017a). Older lesbians, gay men and the ‘right to die’ debate: „I always keep a lethal dose of something, because I don’t want to become an elderly isolated person”. Social & Legal Studies, 26, 606–628.
  • Westwood, S., (2017b). Religion, sexuality, and (in) equality in the lives of older lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the United Kingdom. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, 29, 47–69.
  • Wilkens, J., (2015). Loneliness and belongingness in older lesbians: the role of social groups as ‘community’. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 19, 90–101.
  • Znaniecki, F. (1971). Nauki o kulturze. Warszawa: PWN.

Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.