The paper describes an elderly gay male living single with no family and who is part of the LGBT population. Gays are individuals who are romantically or sexually attracted to men, evidence has established that such individuals are most likely to live alone due to discrimination that they experience compared to other members of community. Noteworthy, studies have outlined that LGBT older adults in general are vulnerable to certain physical and mental health challenges for which older individuals must deal with like malnutrition, depression and substance abuse (Concannon, 2009). However, sociologists have established that older gay individuals derive much of the their satisfaction from the life they live since it helps in coping with loneliness and old age, this is through incorporating positive traits, greater resilience and established networks.
In such a situation, this gay male is facing discrimination in all social systems include health setups. This is because such kind of population have always been considered by many as being medically ill and this has been an area in which control of his life is exerted. Studies have revealed that most gay male and other LGBT individuals still report that they are still facing discrimination from many health professionals and providers which have comprise embarrassment, anxiety, inappropriate reactions, direct rejection of the patient or exhibition of hostility, harassment, excessive curiosity, pity, condescension, ostracism, refusal of treatment, detachment, avoidance of physical contact and breach of privacy rights (Concannon, 2009). Such discriminations results into more stigma and shame and often continue to impact negatively on the life of gay individuals and prompts them to hide their lives and sexual orientations as means of survival. Moreover, the situation of leading a lonely life and having to hide for fear of discrimination disorients individuals and remains a major coping mechanism in lives of gay male and other members of LGBT population. In addition, it has been established that this individual also suffers in sectors of the aging network in which elders work such as voluntary social organizations and congregate housing, this exposes them to more marginalization from contemporary lifestyle holding down their attitudes and reminiscence (Burns, 2006). Human right activist have opined that effects of such discrimination include individuals assessing safety environments instead of developmental attainments, leads to lower satisfaction and self-esteem (Burns, 2006). In this case, there is need for social policy to help this individual in forming identity and to help in developing particular strengths of greater resilience and adaptability which serve him in old age.
Impacts of social policy
Discussions above have affirmed that LGBT individuals continue to suffer from social stigma, harassment, hate, and discrimination because of the conditions they live and state of their lifestyles (Burns, 2006). Significantly, social workers can address such discrimination through design and implementation of social policies that will address suffering and discrimination faced by individuals falling into LGBT population, particularly older gay men. Social policy is important in addressing expansion of civil rights so as to encourage social workers to work towards expanding full legal rights of this special group through elimination of discrimination and harassment in society. Several issues have been raised to warrant social policy for gay and include mental health professionals recognizing that gay is not a mental disorder, suppression depriving them of an opportunity to participate in human sexual experience and discrimination and violence aimed at gay and other members of LGBT population.
Sociologists have confirmed that social policies aimed at gay men impacts positively in their lives and open them for more opportunities through increased participation in community and individual activities (Watson, 2014). First, since gay male have problems facing medical attention for fear of discrimination and harassment, social policy will open more fronts to help them achieve medical attention. This can be achieved through policies initiating public campaigns and awareness programs to adequately inform them of old gay health issues to eliminate stigma associated with being gay. Moreover, such measures will encourage old gay individual to communicate freely without fear of harassment and feel at ease to reluctantly provide medical history.
Second, social participation through inclusivity in community initiatives like filling of taxes is improved with policies supporting such sexual orientations, this is because such an individual will freely file tax returns without fear and this encourages them to be part of the larger community. Third, social policy opens federal and private agencies employment and contractors, and eliminates limitations associated with being gay and to open such opportunities to all members of community. This comes in form of benefits to the older gay individual that may not be discriminated in award of tenders or opportunities as the policy requires contractors to provide spousal benefits to older gay in society.
Lastly, social policy opens more opportunities for insurance protections with its non-discrimination measures of elimination non-eligibility for such programs due to being from LGBT population. It is believed that policies prohibit transgender exclusions in health insurance through legislation or regulation and is aimed at protecting gay members of community (Lavalette and Pratt, 2007).
Burns, K. (2006). Gay rights. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale.
Concannon, L. (2009). Developing inclusive health and social care policies for older LGBT
citizens. British Journal of Social Work, 39(3), 403–417.
Lavalette, M., & Pratt, A. (2007). Social policy: Theories, concepts and issues. London [u.a.:
Watson, S. (2014). Gay rights movement. Minneapolis, MN : ABDO Publishing Company.