“Civil rights? Yeah, right!”: Reflections on legislative changes from older sexual and gender minorities in Aotearoa New Zealand
Keywords:sexual and gender minorities, older adults, legislation, social policy, social work, Aotearoa New Zealand
INTRODUCTION: Sexual and gender minorities continue to face social stigma and discrimination in countries that have progressively passed legislation designed to support their wellbeing and social inclusion. This article explores the impact of similar legislative changes in Aotearoa New Zealand through the reflections of older sexual and gender minorities.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with older sexual and gender minorities were conducted in multiple locations across Aotearoa New Zealand. Associations between legislative changes, social policy, and stigma and discrimination were examined in relation to the contemporary and historical experiences of older sexual and gender minorities.
FINDINGS: Findings indicated that changes in legislation and social policy have not protected older sexual and gender minorities from social stigma and bias, and that social workers need to be active about their role in promoting a critical awareness of these intersections.
CONCLUSIONS: With a growing number of older adults who identify as sexual and gender minorities in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is important that social workers promote a critical perspective about relying on legislation as the sole benchmark for social change.
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