The Aging Experiences of LGBTQ Ethnic Minority Elders: A Systematic Review

Jinwen Chen, Helen McLaren, Michelle Jones, Lida Shams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: In gerontological research and practice, an increasing amount of attention is being paid to
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older people and how their experiences differ from their heterosexual
and cisgender counterparts. However, LGBTQ older adults themselves are not a homogenous group. Moreover, as the
immigrant populations in industrialized nations age, the number of LGBTQ older adults from ethnic minority backgrounds
will only grow. This systematic review hence investigates the experiences of LGBTQ ethnic minority older adults.
Research Design and Methods: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis
guidelines, we conducted a systematic search in 5 databases for English peer-reviewed studies. The retrieved articles were
coded and analyzed inductively using an intersectional framework to tease out the varying influences of ethnicity, age,
gender, and sexual identity on the LGBTQ ethnic minority older adults’ experiences.
Results: A total of 30 articles across 21 studies (13 qualitative, 7 quantitative, and 1 mixed-methods) were identified.
Six key themes emerged from the studies: stigma and discrimination; isolation, support and belonging; interactions with
services and institutions; self-acceptance, resilience, and agency; mental health and well-being; and uncertain futures.
Discussion and Implications: The experiences of LGBTQ ethnic minority older adults echo those of LGBTQ ethnic
majority older adults when they are shaped by gender and sexual identity factors. Nevertheless, significant differences
in experiences—both positive and negative—emerge when cultural and ethnicity-related factors come to the fore. These
findings emphasize the need for intersectional aging policies and services that go beyond catering for LGBTQ older adults
to include the diversity within this subpopulation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalThe Gerontologist
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • LGBTIQ+
  • Systematic Review
  • Intersectionality

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