The only gay (retirement home) in the village

 

At the Rainbow retirement village in France, residents will enjoy something perhaps for the first time: majority status. The development near Montpellier will be the country’s first such home for the lesbian, gay and transgender community.

Developed by the Paris-based The Villages Group on the banks of the Canal du Midi, the gated complex will serve a growing but under-served market recognised by Danny Silver, the company’s British-born founder.

Gay retirement homes have flourished for years in Australia and the US, and emerge in France at a crucial juncture. Ageing members of the “Stonewall generation” of baby boomers have lived out and proud their whole adult lives. But just as they win the right to marry (and even the Pope seems less Catholic), they face an uncertain future.

According to research by Stonewall, as many as 1.2 million people in the UK over 55 are gay. A YouGov poll by the charity reveals the particular challenges many face. In summary, grey gay people are significantly more likely to be single and live alone, and less likely to have children or close relationships with family, leaving them with fewer choices when the need comes for care.

Alan Clark, who is 60, is the author of the 2011 novel Rory’s Boys, a comedy set in Britain’s first gay retirement home. A gay-rights campaigner since the 1970s, he is dismayed that no such home really exists in the UK.

“On one hand, there is a frivolous aspect to the idea of old  gays living together – an Are You Being Served? aspect I loathe – but equally this is a serious  social issue that’s going to  become more urgent as the first generation of gay people to live openly gets older.”

Clark’s greatest fear is of entering a care home that may not have kept up with the times. “There is already anecdotal evidence that gay men and women who have been out all their lives are going back into the closet in care homes to avoid discrimination,” he says.

If the solution is to retire to what Clark says many gay people would consider to be a ghetto, it is something he would consider – if only one existed. In the meantime, however, he is not thinking about leaving his own home in Kensington, London, which he shares with Rob, his partner of 37 years. He adds: “Our neighbours are 88 and 89, and gay, and still live active, independent lives after 60 years together.”

Video: Minnesota's first gay marriage

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower