European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Report of the joint ILGA-Europe/IGLYO AGE Project 'Intergenerational Dialogue with(in) the LGBT Community'

This report is the final outcome of the Age Project in which the findings – in particular the outcomes of the two round tables and therefore the contributions made by participants – are presented. Thus, the goal of this report is not to make concrete policy recommendations but instead to depict where we currently stand, which issues need to be addressed and how these issues may be best tackled. As with all projects which shed light on the need for further research, a secondary, but nevertheless important goal of this report is to stimulate thought with regard to continuing the work that has begun.

“Remember, we started out life as being ‘criminals’. Homosexuality was illegal till 1967 so many of us lived in fear of being caught, losing our jobs and even our families. Though I think mum always knew deep down, it was never talked about and that’s how we all just got on with life.”

“I was physically abused every day in school for four years. This was because they found me too butch and that I looked like a boy, and of course, because I am a lesbian. Therefore they felt that they should bully me since the first grade.”

All over Europe, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are confronted with discrimination based upon their sexual orientation and gender identity. This holds true for LGBT people of all ages in all areas of life. The above quotes are testimony to this very fact.

However, it is important to note that while LGBT lobby groups actively fight homophobia, not all LGBT people benefit from the accomplishments in the same way. Because some LGBT issues are more  apparent than others, certain LGBT groups are more visible than others. This, for example, is the case with the different age groups. Given the heteronormative structures in the various spheres of life, LGBT people form a vulnerable group. However, with the increased invisibility of certain LGBT age groups, specific age groups are even more vulnerable. This is the case with LGBT youth and, potentially even more so, with older LGBT people. The joint ILGA-Europe / IGLYO – Age Project was borne out of recognition of this fact and set out to shed light on this very issue. This project is an important initiative in raising awareness about how strands of identity – in particular sexual orientation, gender identity and age – interlock. As a result, at the core of this project is an underlying conviction of the importance of and need for a ‘multiplicity of identity’ approach. The Age Project also represents a further example of the fruitful collaboration between ILGA-Europe and IGLYO and is an important step in furthering IGLYO’s work. 

This report is the final outcome of the Age Project in which the findings – in particular the outcomes of the two round tables and therefore the contributions made by participants – are presented. Thus, the goal of this report is not to make concrete policy recommendations but instead to depict where we currently stand, which issues need to be addressed and how these issues may be best tackled. As with all projects which shed light on the need for further research, a secondary, but nevertheless important goal of this report is to stimulate thought with regard to continuing the work that has begun.