LGBT aging and Rhetorical silence

  • Maria T. BrownEmail author
Special Issue Articles


The exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders from queer and gerontological theories has resulted in the silencing of LGBT older adults and their experiences. Historically, this silencing has left LGBT elders without adequate social or material supports and has isolated them from both the LGBT and the older-adult communities, as well as the agencies serving those communities. The author defines this silencing as a rhetorical move rendering elders invisible in queer theory and queerness invisible in gerontological theory and argues that the producers of queer and gerontological theory, from a position of power within these discourses, silence and ignore LGBT elders’ rhetorical activities. The author further argues that although many LGBT elders have worked to arrange material and social supports for themselves and their peers, their activities have become audible only relatively recently, due to the activism of middle-aged and older LGBT members of human service and academic networks.

Key words

LGBT elders queer theory gerontology feminist gerontology human services 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Policy ResearchSyracuse UniversitySyracuse

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