One of Opening Doors aims is to ensure that older LGBT people live healthy and independent lives that are free from loneliness, isolation, prejudice and discrimination.
As we are currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which decriminalised homosexual acts, we have to remember the brave people who were around when it was actually illegal to have same sex intercourse. People like Allan, who was 24 in 1967. He says he was mentally and physically abused, and was called queer, so he left education at a young age. Then there is Maureen, who was involved with the Gay Liberation Front since the beginning, and was told by someone that “she hasn’t met the right man yet.” And Margaret, who happened to be Maurice in 1967, and who came out in 1991, says that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, everything in Britain was rigid. Margaret finished her transition as a woman in 2002. But there are people like Tony, who has had to come out twice, as being gay and having HIV.
Many of Opening Doors service users have first-hand experience of living through the an oppressive era in British history, which makes the work Opening Doors do all the more relevant and important. It is committed to fostering and developing social interactions and networks for members of this often marginalised segment of our community. They also provide services and support to older LGBT people such as a Befriending Service, 40 or so monthly social events, and training to outside organisations who provide care for older people who are LGBT.
See the Opening Doors London website for more information: http://openingdoorslondon.org.uk/