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
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...