Care homes host heartwarming Silver Pride events for LGBTQ+ elders: ‘I can finally be myself’

Four people wear rainbow-coloured items to celebrate Silver Pride at Fairway View care home in Nottingham

Care homes across the country are preparing to celebrate Silver Pride Day, which honours older members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The celebration includes visits from drag queens, holding choir sessions and hosting Pride-themed coffee mornings.

Saturday (24 June) is the first official National Silver Pride Day, but places such as the Belong retirement village in Crewe have hosted Silver Pride events since 2018.

Samantha Wolsey, a 68-year-old trans resident at Belong, explained that the care home being so LGBTQ+ inclusive has meant she can “finally be myself”. 

“Everyone is so accepting. I feel comfortable here, and I can finally be myself. If you want to talk to anyone, someone is always there for you,” Wolsey said.

“I can walk freely as myself. You can talk to any member of staff and customers are accepting too.”

You may like to watch

A trans resident of a UK care home
Samantha Wolsey says Silver Pride allows her to “finally” be herself. (Credit: Belong Care Villages)

Drag queen Fanny Burns, who visited Fairway View care home in Nottingham for a performance, said: “Luckily the UK is growing in acceptance, and this is shown by the fact that our care homes, like Fairway View, are supporting the right to be who you are.”

Resident Phyllis Bramley, 94, added: “I had so much fun and Fanny has fantastic legs”.

Sue Learner, editor of care home review site explained: “There are over 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people in Britain over the age of 55 and we need to break the taboos that stop them from celebrating their true selves. 

“Regardless of age, no one should live in fear of prejudice and discrimination … It is inspiring to see so many care homes celebrating Pride Month and Silver Pride by organising fun events that bring communities together and foster a culture of inclusivity and diversity.”

The site added that one issue facing older members of the LGBTQ+ community is that in some cases, “people who have been ‘out’ all their lives suddenly feel they have to hide their sexuality and keep it a secret when moving into a care home”.

Residents take part in 2022’s Silver Pride (Belong Care Villages)

In 2021, the UK’s first LGBTQ+ retirement community was given the green light to open in London, promising to be the “first of many” queer-affirming retirement communities.

Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing, said the organisation is “making history” by “realising a long-held dream” in providing a “safe place for LGBT+ people to live well in a community where they can be themselves and enjoy their later years”.