Meals on Wheels Central Texas just celebrated the grand opening of its first-ever LGBTQ senior center in Austin.
The free program provides a place for LGBTQ seniors to find community, eat lunch, and participate in fun games twice a week. The group calls themselves: “The Golden Generation.”
The center is the first of its kind of Central Texas. It will be life-changing for many local LGBTQ elders, who are reluctant to risk discrimination at other social spaces for seniors.
“They are much more likely to be socially isolated than the rest of the population, and that leads to loneliness, depression, and that can also extend into health issues,” Thad Rosenfeld, vice president for communications at Meals on Wheels Central Texas, told KXAN.
One group member, Tony Krug, can attest to the unique sense of belonging at the new center. At almost 70 years old, he’s been out since the 1980s.
“There is something to be said about being gay and being with other gay people that just lets you be yourself,” Krug told KXAN.
“Even at the south Austin center, you have to be cautious because you don’t know how you’re going to be accepted. Here, you walk in the door, you know you’re accepted.”
Groups like the Golden Generation are important — but there needs to be more of them, Krug says. Three out of four LGBT-identifying adults “are concerned about having enough support from family and friends as they age,” per an AARP survey.
“We just have to keep laying the path,” he said.