All bad? Experiences of aging among LGBT elders in South Africa
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There is an almost complete dearth of research on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders in South Africa. This study was a qualitative exploration through focus group discussions of the lived experiences of 22 LGBT people over 50 years of age in the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces of South Africa. Given high levels of poverty and inequality in South Africa, findings from a thematic analysis of participants’ narratives foregrounded surprisingly strong themes of inclusion and belonging despite the structural challenges faced by many in South Africa. While narratives of marginalization and exclusion were present, these were juxtaposed with reports of belonging and inclusion in families, communities, through friendship networks, and in health care. Findings indicate that, while experiences of homophobia and transphobia are real among LGBTelders in South Africa, participants experience agency, support, and relatively high reported levels of social belonging as they age.