The documentary ‘Becoming Colleen’ follows the story of an elderly transgender woman as she transitions into aged care in the regional community of Coffs Harbour.
Historically, many people of diverse gender and sexual orientation have had to face suppressing their identity, to the point of returning to ‘the closet’ in many of these often religious run facilities.
This has particularly been the case in regional Australia, where acceptance of LGBTI people has well below that of urban communities.
In 2015, the Australian Government made a committment to ensuring equitable access to high-quality, culturally appropriate aged care for all LGBTI people.
The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy identifies “a range of initiatives have been put in place to better meet the aged care needs of LGBTI people”.
These initiatives recognise that:
• there have been decades of inequitable treatment for LGBTI people;
• many LGBTI people have suffered stigma, family rejection and social isolation; and
• many LGBTI people have had a life experience of fear of rejection and persecution, coupled with the impact of potential or actual discrimination.
For these reasons, LGBTI ageing is a unique and important experience warranting particular attention. This Strategy aims to ensure that LGBTI people have the same opportunities and options in aged care that are available to all Australians. The strategy is designed to not only raise awareness of the issues but also, in a very concrete way, improve the ageing and aged care experience of LGBTI people, recognising and valuing the diversity of this group.”
More information about the strategy can be found at: https://agedcare.health.gov.au/older-people-their-families-and-carers/people-from-diverse-backgrounds/national-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-and-intersex-lgbti-ageing-and-aged-care-strategy
And the strategy can be downloaded here: https://agedcare.health.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1426/f/documents/08_2014/national_ageing_and_aged_care_strategy_lgbti_text_version_0.pdf