Millennial family caregivers are now over ⅓ of ‘sandwich caregivers.’
When I learned this, I also learned that we are the most diverse population of multigenerational caregivers to rise to majority status.
Even more reason for us to break molds, I thought. Even more reason for a paradigm shift in the way our society talks about caregiving. Of course, LGBTQ people have always been family caregivers. Nothing about that is new. The only reason data may show it as new is progress in our society hopefully has caused more folks to feel like they can be open about being LGBTQ. A huge part of what emboldens our generation is a rejection of older methods— a rejection of being forced to choose ‘male’ or ‘female’ or ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ when none of those options feel correct. A fierce energy propels many millennials to buck systems that are no longer relevant and are, furthermore, potentially harmful.
However, generations before us have fought famously too.
They have also suffered famously. Before same-sex marriage was legal, one’s partner of 30 years could be ill in the hospital, yet their partner has no legal right to even see them, much less be entitled to any form of support.
Recently, I have read about same-sex couples retreating into the closet in order to either get accepted into an assisted-living facility or to avoid blatant discrimination once they move in. How could our society have so little respect for the ill or aging that we don’t mind forcing them to regress on their very identity?
Ultimately, all I can conclude is that navigating the healthcare system is almost impossible, and navigating being a caregiver is precarious, full of grief, love, the best days and the worst days. We are advocates for our loved ones. We must also be advocates for ourselves, and for each other. The only way we will get through is to listen to each other, support each other, and be inclusive.
So, I-Ally is ecstatic to be a partner and supporter and friend to The LGBTQ Caregiver Center. The LGBTQ Caregiver Center is an initiative of the Caregiver Wellness Collective Inc. (pending 501c3). The Center aims to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ Caregivers and those who care for LGBTQ individuals, empower LGBTQ Caregivers to live with pride and dignity and serve as a conduit for education, wellness, training and research. The Center provides information and resources, and develops innovative programs and services to enhance the health and wellness of LGBTQ Caregivers.
The LGBTQ Caregiver Center is founded and directed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals, advocates and allies who share a passion for supporting Caregiver Wellness.
We believe in compassionate, person-centered care and advocacy of dignity, pride and respect. We strive to support the unique needs of LGBTQ Caregivers.