2016 研究助成 Research Grant Program  /  (B)個人研究助成  
(Grant Number)
(Project Title)
How Sexual Minorities Experience Aging: Identifying and tackling challenges toward an inclusive aged society
平山 亮
Ryo Hirayama
Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
(Grant Amount)
企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)


    Despite growing debates on societal aging, scant attention has been directed to the experiences of sexual minorities who are close to or in the midst of old age. In this project, I seek to identify social-institutional challenges that should be resolved to develop support networks for aging sexual minorities in Japan. Although support networks have been indicated to be a critical factor for aging well, sexual minorities have limited social ties that can function as personal support sources in their old age. For example, the intimate ties of sexual minorities, such as same-sex partners and close friends, cannot serve as emergency contacts and surrogate decision makers in Japan because, within the institutionalized practices of elder care in this country, only legally acknowledged family members are allowed to do so. Further, sexual minorities can be denied access to public care services because of the feelings of hesitancy and rejection in service providers; thus, these minorities have difficulty acquiring formal support sources as well. To address these issues, my aim in this project is twofold. First, from a national-comparative perspective, I clarify Japan's political and institutional factors that can and do inhibit sexual minorities from building a support network that works well in their old age. Second, I conduct two field studies with sexual minorities in middle and older age as well as care service providers so as to elicit practical suggestions for developing a network of care that is friendly for aging sexual minorities. Fostering an understanding of the aging experiences of sexual minorities, findings from this project will broaden people's perspectives from which to think about what it is like to grow old and what support systems can benefit aging individuals regardless of their sexuality and gender.

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