Sytuacja życiowa osób starszych nieheteronormatywnych – analiza przypadków w perspektywie biograficznej
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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.
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