Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience
Film viewing and discussion with filmmaker, Joe Ippolito, exploring the lives and experiences of aging transgender people. Sponsored by the MSW Area of Emphasis in Aging (AEA) Scholars
Date & Time:
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
McNeely Hall 100
University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, MN
Joe Ippolito is a doctor of psychology, LICSW, writer, researcher, organizer, activist and filmmaker. He currently works for Allina Health Systems and teaches in the Psychology Department at Metropolitan State University. Joe also founded and runs, Gender Reel, a coast-to-coast film & art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of trans people.
Key Challenges Facing Transgender Older Adults
Today's aging services network provides a wide range of critical services for older adults, from meals and transportation to educational activities and legal help. Yet this network is currently ill-equipped to provide competent and nondiscriminatory services to transgender older adults, or to address their unique needs. Few aging providers offer cultural competence training or outreach specific to transgender communities. Many transgender older adults are not getting the support they need, and many are reluctant to seek services at all.
A lack of cultural and clinical competence regarding transgender people and their health needs, as well as bias and outright discrimination by providers, create serious barriers to quality care for transgender older adults. These barriers, together with financial barriers, mean that many transgender older adults often avoid or delay seeking care. In addition, medically necessary care related to gender transition is often arbitrarily excluded from public and private insurance. Inability to access this care can contribute to declining health, and these exclusions are often used to deny coverage for preventive and other medical care transgender older adults need.
The confluence of widespread discrimination across the lifespan, weaker support networks, and barriers to quality care contribute to poor health outcomes for many transgender older people. Transgender people report higher rates of disability, general poor health, depression, anxiety, loneliness and suicidal ideation. Thus, many transgender elders enter their later years with severe health concerns yet without the social and community supports necessary to address them.
Additionally, transgender older adults face barriers in areas such as violence, employment and housing discrimination, privacy and documentation issues, a limited knowledge base, community support and engagement, and more.