Manchester City Council plans to open the UK’s first retirement community for older LGBT residents.
Manchester has the largest number of LGBT residents outside of London and more than 7,000 over-50s in Manchester identify as LGBT.
As the population ages, many experience feelings of loneliness, as well as a fear of discrimination in existing retirement housing.
Carl Austin-Behan, the city’s gay Lord Mayor, said that it was important for people knowing they were going to be respected in sheltered housing.
“In this day and age, when people are more open and able to speak freely about their sexuality, some of the older generation are still a little bit more reserved with it,” he said. “It’s important that once they’ve come out and been themselves … that 20 years later they don’t feel like they can’t be themselves, and aren’t discriminated against.”
Paul Martin, the chief executive of the city’s LGBT Foundation, said that Manchester prides itself as an “age-friendly” city.
“We welcome the announcement of this scheme as a significant move towards improving the lives of older LGBT people in the area,” he said.
Councillor Bev Craig said: “Older people should never feel isolated by who they are, or who they love. Alongside improving this in general provision, it is time that we develop a scheme in Manchester that provides care for LGBT people, providing a place where the LGBT community can give each other a network of support in older age.”
The housing development will house a minimum of 51% LGBT residents.