Part­ner­ship against bigotry in aged care

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Community News - Tim Mayne

FOR many older Aus­tralians, mov­ing into an aged care fa­cil­ity may be daunt­ing, but for peo­ple like Ge­off Davis, who is gay, the pos­si­bil­ity of dis­crim­i­na­tion in the home can mean living a life of al­most to­tal iso­la­tion.

Ge­off has been cam­paign­ing for years to have the rights of gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual, trans and in­ter­sex peo­ple recog­nised across all facets of so­ci­ety.

To­day, the 79-year-old is a poster child for older gay peo­ple and is a mem­ber for Gay Rights in Age­ing group (GRAI).

The group has just formed an his­toric part­ner­ship with Man­ning com­mu­nity care or­gan­i­sa­tion Southcare to help end dis­crim­i­na­tion against gay and les­bian peo­ple in aged care fa­cil­i­ties.”

“GRAI is im­por­tant be­cause many older gay peo­ple have never come out as they are in an age group who have a greater ho­mo­pho­bic sense,” Ge­off said.

“Peo­ple go­ing into th­ese kinds of sit­u­a­tions tend to feel iso­lated them­selves, but for­tu­nately a re­cent change to Fed­eral law laid down that aged care fa­cil­i­ties can­not dis­crim­i­nate against older gay and les­bian peo­ple,” he said.

Ge­off said he first discov- ered he was at­tracted to males at an early age and was for­tu­nate to have the sup­port of his fam­ily.

“I lived for the first 40 years of my life un­til I came out, which was in the late 1970s,” Ge­off said.

“I came out to my fam­ily when I started a re­la­tion­ship and sent them a let­ter while they were away to tell them.

Their re­sponse was that it was fine by them and my broth­ers and sis­ters were fine about it too.

“My fa­ther and step-mother were very ac­cept­ing.”

Ge­off Davis dis­cusses is­sues af­fect­ing older gay peo­ple with GRAI board mem­ber Con­rad Liveris.

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