A Place of Their Own: As the Stonewall Generation Ages, 'Out' Baby Boomers Have Started to Build Retirement Communities Where They Can Grow Old Together

By Rosenberg, Debra | Newsweek, January 15, 2001 | Go to article overview

A Place of Their Own: As the Stonewall Generation Ages, 'Out' Baby Boomers Have Started to Build Retirement Communities Where They Can Grow Old Together


Rosenberg, Debra, Newsweek


When Judy Newdom and Val Filipski began planning their retirement, they worried about more than finding the perfect weather or a topnotch golf course. Devoted partners for 25 years, the two women had heard tales of retirement homes where same-sex couples weren't allowed to share an apartment, much less a bed. After finally adjusting to life as an openly gay couple, they feared they might not be welcomed by a traditional retirement community. So when Newdom heard about the Palms of Manasota, a Florida retirement community for gays and lesbians, she could hardly wait to move into one of its airy Mediterranean houses. Even though Newdom, 54, and Filipski, 50, hardly seem like senior citizens, the two packed their bags and moved from suburban Boston. "It just kept calling to us," says Newdom. "I thought, 'If that's where you want to live, why wait?' "

Newdom and Filipski are leading a wave of openly gay and lesbian baby boomers just starting to ponder their golden years. Demographers estimate that there are already 1 million to 3 million gay and lesbian seniors--a number expected to skyrocket in the next 15 years. While the majority of straight seniors are cared for by spouses and children, gay seniors often lack those family ties. "We are particularly vulnerable as we get older," says Terry Kaelber of Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE), an advocacy group for gay seniors.

Because many gays have grappled with discrimination throughout their lives, they worry the problem will be even worse when they retire and grow less independent. Robert Daley, an artist who lived at the Palms until his death in 1999, often spoke of the isolation he felt during a stint in a straight retirement home, recalling how people stopped talking to him once they realized he was gay. "If you are out and proud... you can suffer terribly because you are trapped," says David Buckel of Lambda Legal Defense, who notes that gay nursing-home residents often hide or destroy personal photos that could out them. While gay retirees of the World War II generation have sometimes had to duck back into the closet to cope, the Stonewall generation won't be so willing to compromise. Like baby boomers everywhere, they're intent on inventing a retirement of their own, one that celebrates being part of a like-minded community. Just as niche retirement villages have begun catering to African-Americans and other ethnic groups, a half-dozen gay-friendly retirement projects from Boston to Palm Springs aim to open their doors within the next few years.

Until recently, retirement was a low priority among many gays. For years, the gay community put such a premium on youthful looks and lifestyle, says the Rev. Ken South, a policy fellow at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, that some gays actually became prejudiced against anyone old. For gay men, the AIDS epidemic made old age seem dismally unlikely anyway. "We didn't have the sense that we would have a future," says South. Few gays bothered to plan for their middle age, much less retirement. But with the future now more secure, and aging an undeniable reality, gays are determined to put their own stamp on it. The new communities envision chic city settings and gourmet dining rooms that serve dinner until 10 p.m., well after the early-bird set has usually turned in for the night. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Place of Their Own: As the Stonewall Generation Ages, 'Out' Baby Boomers Have Started to Build Retirement Communities Where They Can Grow Old Together
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.