As part of the national focus of Cancer, Older People and Advocacy, programme manager the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) is looking at how successfully we support minority sections of the older population.
We’ve got to start somewhere so we’re developing delivery partners’ knowledge and understanding of supporting older people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans (LGBT). Already partners have attended training sessions run by Opening Doors London and those who attended are cascading their knowledge locally. In addition, delivery partners are working with LGBT organisations in their own localities to develop and expand their local knowledge.
Most of us take for granted that our partners and families will be fully involved in meetings and discussions following a cancer diagnosis. What if it’s not made easy for the older LGBT person to identify their significant other whom they want involved in the same way? A diagnosis is a difficult enough thing to face without having to deal with other people’s assumptions or indeed their discriminatory views and/or behaviour. That’s why it’s really important not only that we raise awareness but also why we need to recruit older LGBT people who have been affected by cancer to be trained as peer advocates.
At OPAAL we’re really lucky to have Trustee Roger Newman helping us understand how we as a national membership organisation can best support our members develop best practice.
You can follow Roger’s personal blog where he publishes posts from his viewpoint as an older gay man. It’s truly illuminating and very informative. Recently Roger and his partner Nigel featured in a Guardian article about love in later life. The article has two stories, Roger and Nigel’s and Leslie and Barbara’s. Both stories are heart warming and can be found here.