News and stories Pride 2020 #WhyWeStillMarch Many LGBTQ+ people over 50 were the ones to march at those early Prides demanding rights and recognition, yet our voices and concerns are often overlooked. So this year, although we are celebrating from home, our members have sent in their Pride pictures to say #WhyWeStillMarch. For those of us who have fought for trans equality for many years, it is terrifying to see that trans rights are once again under attack. The Women and Equalities Office are seemingly going ahead with decisions to limit trans people’s right to self-identify and access gender affirming medical intervention. Under the guise of protecting “single-sex” spaces, trans people are at risk of being excluded and further marginalised. We assert that trans people know their own gender and are not only welcome but an integral part of our public and community spaces. 70% of respondents to the Gender Recognition Act consultation are for reforms to make it easier for trans people to self-identity. What’s the point of a consultation if you won’t listen to us? Trans people’s lives are not up for debate. We still march for our right to self-identify and access gender affirming medical intervention. 52% of LGBTQ+ people say they have experienced depression in the last year (Mind Out). From our work here at ODL, we know that our mental health may additionally suffer from increased loneliness and social isolation as we grow older. One member told us: “I’ve spent the last 15 years in the mental health system… I have recovered but I am going to be taking medication for the rest of my life. I've experienced the most homophobia that I have ever had from the other mental health service users.” LGBTQ+ people deserve safe and accessible mental health services with professionals who understand our experiences and can support us accordingly. We still march because our need for mental health services must be met. For many LGBTQ+ people who enter care homes and other care services, this can be difficult. Older generations of LGBTQ+ people are less likely to have the support of extended family, yet our increased reliance on care services is paired with a fear that carers won’t accept us for who we are. In Stonewall's 2011 report, three in five older lesbian, gay and bi people said they were not confident that care services, including care homes, would be able to understand and meet their needs. In our experience of providing training to care professionals, we know that having a LGBTQ+ affirmative carer can make all the difference. One of our members told us how much it meant when the care staff put an extra bed in his partner’s room so that he could spend the night: “It was clear that we were being treated with respect as a gay couple.” We still march for every LGBTQ+ person in care to be treated with dignity and respect. Many LGBTQ+ people live in unsuitable and precarious housing. Housing issues affect LGBTQ+ people across generations, from youth homelessness to the lack of LGBTQ+ affirmative retirement homes. These issues are exacerbated for LGBTQ+ people from poor and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Unsafe and precarious housing is an issue of under-resourcing and inadequate state support. In our recent housing survey for LGBTQ+ people over 50, the answers were unanimous: we want safe and affordable housing as we age and to live without fear of discrimination. We still march for LGBTQ+ people of all ages to access this.