One Equal World

Housing Communities For LGBT Seniors Open in Chicago, Philadelphia

Posted on: October 14, 2014

Many seniors who may have had to hide in their sexual orientation during their youth can now rejoice. There is a newly opened development in Chicago that caters to LGBT elders. It is one of the first LGBT-friendly housing communities for elderly people in the country.

“This feel likes home,” says Ed Lund, who came out as a gay man during the AIDS epidemic. Lund, like many others, lost his job of 15 years in the early 1980s after his boss learned his sexual orientation. “As you get older, it just feels more comfortable to be around people who understand and share your background. It’s also nice not to have worry about letting something slip out,” he says.

Not only are these apartments gaining popularity in Chicago, similar LGBT-friendly housing facilities are also starting to crop up in cities like Philadelphia. The John C. Anderson apartments, a housing community that caters to low-income LGBT seniors, recently opened in Center City, Philadelphia. The federal government also has a broader campaign to address the growing issue of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. In just one year The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has received 150 allegations of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

These LGBT friendly apartments are very hot on the market since there are so few. The John C. Anderson apartments already have a 100-person waiting list. There are over 1.5 million Americans who are 65 or older who identify as LGBT. “Being out was so dangerous back then that when I attended a protest, the newspapers would only show my pants in pictures because I would get fired by the government if anyone knew I was gay,” said John James, 72, who worked for the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s.

Happily, the times have taken a more progressive shift, and if this trend continues, there will be even more safe communities for LGBT seniors in the future.



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