UW research inspires Seattle’s first LGBTQ senior center

By | September 1, 2019


Oh gosh, hi Tim. Good to see you! I’m Karen Fredriksen Goldsen and my focus – my scholarship is really focusing on the
health and well-being of marginalized populations. I’m really excited to hear
everyone’s stories. With LGBTQ older adults we found that many are
experiencing very significant health disparities and social isolation. It’s
mainly associated with the discrimination and the kinds of adverse
experiences that they often encountered earlier in life or even currently. I realized very early that I wasn’t like anyone else in my family. They may hear
LGBTQ jokes, slurs. You know, many tell us that they really feel forced back into
the closet. So much hiding, so much frustration. We know for those elders
that have three or more people in their social network – that really can provide a
buffer and really leads to much better health. That’s been the goal of the GenPride Center – to be able to create visability, to be able to create
community, but really be able to connect people. There is a lot of loneliness that
comes out of being the only one and here no one is the only one. Just being in a group where maybe you’re talking about these things… Socialization, movies, gatherings. Information, resource and referral to get them connected to existing
organizations. It’s affirming that the LGBT community is still here and after all the trials and tribulations there’s people here still standing up for us and
doing things for us. (yoga class) This center is really needed. This is the very first and
the only LGBTQ multi-purpose senior center in the region. As people are discovering us they’re amazed that this service hasn’t already existed. Karen’s
report was really important because it gave us the data that we could then take
to the city and to funding sources and say this is what we found. It’s really important for people to age in community and I think that that connection is what
is so exciting about this – translating science to community, and how
can we create a better world and a better community. And that’s been the goal of
this project and I think we’re really succeeding.

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