Giving a silent generation a voice

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A day in the life: Giving a silent generation a voice
A day in the life: Giving a silent generation a voice

Filmmaker Stu Maddux is determined to make long-term care more sensitive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. 

His documentary, “Gen Silent,” follows six LGBT seniors over the course of a year as they navigate the eldercare system and struggle to figure out whom they can trust. Fear of discrimination and bullying at the hands of caregivers and long-term care providers sometimes forces LGBT elders back into the closet, Maddux says. He was inspired to make his film because there are too few LGBT role models demonstrating how to age without shame or fear.

“It's not that they weren't there. They were invisible,” he says. “When I started to look at it, I found that they're silent. They're hiding.” 

Instead of putting the 2011 documentary in wide release, Maddux and his collaborators decided to sell it to nursing homes, libraries, advocacy organizations and aging services groups where it can be screened by thoughtful audiences, Maddux says. He also developed materials for sensitivity training, which LTC facilities can share with staff and residents.

Acceptance and inclusion “needs to start from the top down — and it has to be more than just sending out a memo and expecting things to change. Facilities need to do sensitivity training because you have to change the culture for the residents and employees,” Maddux says.


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