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 celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power