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Social participation and community engagement of older gay and bisexual male veterans: Time to ask and tell

1 January 2015


Objective: Research is limited regarding elder lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer veterans in the United States. The primary aim of the study is to explore perspectives of older LGBTQ veteran’s experiences with community engagement and social participation.

Methods: This action research explores perceptions and understandings of what it means to be LGBTQ later in life. The study includes data from seven semi-­‐ structured interviews with gay and bisexual male veterans ranging in ages from 51-­‐ 87.

Results: Interviewees valued social opportunities as a means of human connection within a community. Five issues emerged from the data including: communal meals, transportation, housing, the coming-­‐out process, and trauma and mental health.

Discussion: Trauma-­‐informed care is essential when working with marginalized populations. Occupational therapy practitioners may support health and wellness for LGBTQ elder veterans by creating programming facilitating community engagement. Further research is needed to implement alternative courses of action.

Keywords: military, veterans, aging, gay men, bisexual men, LGBTQ, social participation, community engagement


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