Ageism and Heterosexism in African American LGBT Lives

An image of two people who appear to be older women sitting together and looking toward the sky. They are framed by green vines. Illustration by Valentina Talijan

How do coming of age and coming out affect older African Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender as they age? Black LGBT older adults live at the intersection of multiple forms of bigotry and discrimination: being lesbian, gay, and/or trans in a heterosexist society; being a person of color in a racist society; and being old in a youth-worshipping society. This article tells the stories of lives lived and the very real problems of LGBT African Americans coming of age and how those experiences shaped their lives as they grew older.