The New Day Project: A Needs assessment of the Milwaukee Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults
The strengths and needs of Milwaukee’s 50 and older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been detailed in an almost year-long study.
For the study, The New Day Project, nearly 300 LGBT residents ages 50 and up were surveyed on how LGBT-friendly they found the city’s healthcare services, communities, housing, transportation, and more. The study was led by Mark Williams, assistant professor at UW-Milwaukee in collaboration with the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center’s Scott Miller.
Other communities have conducted similar studies and found that older LGBT residents face concerns common to all older adults, including accessible transportation, affordable housing, and social opportunities to relieve isolation. But due to lifelong experiences of stigma and discrimination, LGBT older adults also identified particular worries, Williams said.
“They worried about their personal safety, how culturally competent their health care providers will be, how safe it may be for them to openly identify as LGBT if they need to receive in-home care or move into senior housing, assisted living, or nursing home facilities,” he said. Stress that results from coping with stigma and discrimination cause serious health disparities, he says.
In general, survey takers gave Milwaukee a thumbs up in overall LGBT friendliness. However, they gave a thumbs down to specific areas regarding healthcare and elected officials. The New Day Project comes at a time when the National Institutes of Health has acknowledged that the LGBT community is under-researched and underserved. Some cities — including Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago — have recently responded by creating LGBT-friendly senior housing.