Prof. Kim Wilson

Promoting health and community engagement for largely overlooked and often-stigmatized LGBTQ2 seniors is the goal of a University of Guelph research project receiving nearly $100,000 in federal funding.

The funding was announced today in Ottawa by Minister of Seniors Filomena Tassi. The U of G project is one of two pan-Canadian research initiatives to be supported by the federal New Horizons for Seniors Program and intended to improve the lives of Canadian seniors.

Prof. Kim Wilson, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, and Arne Stinchcombe, a professor at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, will receive $96,168 for research intended to help municipalities and organizations better engage and include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit seniors.

Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada. By 2030, the number of seniors will reach 9.6 million, or almost one-quarter of the country’s population.

LGBTQ2 communities are also aging, and Wilson said this group may often experience societal stigma and discrimination.

“There is also evidence that health disparities exist between aging sexual and gender minority populations and their majority peers,” she said. A policy brief she submitted this spring to a House of Commons committee called for more research and resources to meet the needs of LGBTQ2 older adults.

Under the new one-year project, the research team plans to collect and analyze data from “age-friendly” communities in Canada.

Speaking during today’s announcement, Wilson said her team will aim to “showcase innovative services, programs and policies, and will be able to offer guidance to communities across Canada about ways to create more inclusive and age-friendly environments.”