Old Age Is No Place For Sissies!
A topic many in the LGBT community don’t think about often is aging. We can accept it, but American society, unfortunately, still isn’t comfortable with “the gays.” Thus, when gay seniors need to find a retirement home, they are often shoved back into the closet. Significant others of many years are torn apart as they aren’t legally recognized as a couple with rights. What happens to you if you’re in your 60’s or 70’s with no biological family? How do you find affordable living arrangements that don’t muzzle a major part of your identity or life?
A Place to Live: The Story of Triangle Square is a documentary film that investigates this problem. The film won the Audience Award at OUTFEST in 2008.
The film follows seven older adults as they try to secure places in the first affordable LGBT housing facility in the U.S.—Triangle Square Hollywood. A lottery was set up to select the first residents, since the applicants overwhelmed the number of units in the facility.
The nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) was founded in 2001 with the goal to build and operate a safe, affordable, multicultural housing development specifically for LGBT older adult. They called their initial project Triangle Square. Producer Cynthia Childs saw the construction site for Triangle Square and recognized the project’s cultural significance. She and director Carolyn Coal found people willing to talk about themselves and how they came to Triangle Square.
The 104-unit development opened in 2007 in Hollywood and has become a nurturing and safe home for gays and lesbians of all ethnicities, all socio-economic levels, and all ages. The movie looks at both the construction and planning behind Triangle Square but it also embraces the stories of residents before and as they joined this community.
A cultural misconception sees all “the gays” as young, wealthy, and buff; that’s far from the truth for an aging population that needs their own places to live out their years without hiding who they are. If you think you’re marginalized or ostracized, imagine how it is to be a LGBT senior. Even among other LGBT adults, the seniors are not always embraced as they should be.
A Place to Live is making the rounds at many LGBT film festivals. No matter how old you are, make it a point to find and watch this important and moving film. After all, you’re not getting any younger yourself…