SPAIN’s first gay and lesbian elderly care home will open in Madrid next year.
Masterminded by the December 26 Foundation, a Spanish organisation for the LGTB society, the care home will set up in a converted hotel in the capital.
Federico Armenteros, the president of December 26, insisted that the care home is vital because ‘elderly LGTB don’t exist’ as far as society is concerned.
He said that the elderly aren’t as accepting of gay and lesbian people, and many return to the closet in old age as a result, especially if they are in a home.
“They don’t have children and grandchildren they can talk about and often they conceal their sexual orientation to avoid rejection,” he said.
But he added that the home won’t be exclusively for the LGTB community.
“We’re not going to ask you who you sleep with when you apply. Anyone can come, the only thing to bear in mind is that it specialises in elderly LGTBs,” he said.
“As it is, there are homes for ex-servicemen, nuns, or retired workers from specific companies, and noone says they are being discriminatory.”
Being gay was considered dangerous by law in Spain until late 1978, and if you were gay you faced prison or internment in re-education centres, or having your movements restricted.
The name of the foundation comes from the date that this law was reformed.
Boti Garcia, the president of Spain’s LGTB federation, said: “When people think of LGTB people, they think of young people. There’s a tendency, as there is in society as a whole, to leave out the elderly.”
December 26 are also planning to set up a Civic Centre in the Lavapies neighbourhood of Madrid, which is due to be completed in the next few months.
The centre will hold painting classes, physiotherapy sessions and have a gym.
Armenteros insisted that: “Neither the centre nor the home will be places to park old people. We want elderly people to feel useful, to make sure that they have a good time and feel at home.”