LGBTQ seniors in Houston are twice as likely to face food insecurity

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – While one in five Houstonians faces food insecurity, hunger is a growing problem for older members of the LGBTQ community. + ours.

With twice as many LGBTQ+ seniors marking vacations alone as their heterosexual and same-sex peers, LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Houston is drawing attention to the urgent need for meals as part of a second annual food hike.

Friday, volunteers will collect non-compostable foods to support seniors in need through the Montrose Center’s holiday box program. Donations can be made at:

  • SignatureCare ER, 1925 E. TC Jester Blvd., from 8 am – noon
  • Eureka Heights Brewery, 941 W. 18 St., 3-7 pm

You can also click here to make a virtual donation.

While this may be a season of joy and memory for some, there are others of us who struggle during this time of year, including LGBTQ+ seniors of we.

“These people went through the AIDS crisis, they lost so many friends, they were the people who fought so hard for the rights we have today,” Austin Davis Ruiz told Montrose Center. “As a result, they face a lot of discrimination over their lifetime, so they have less savings for retirement.”

These seniors are also more likely to live in social isolation, Ruiz said, as many do not have family members who support their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It is really stressful financially and emotionally as well as on our LGBTQ seniors who are living with food insecurity,” he said.

The data shows that about 13.1% of LGBTQ+ adults live in households where sometimes or often don’t get enough to eat on a weekly basis, compared with 7.2% of non-LGBTQ+ adults.

The Montrose Center reports LGBTQ+ women are particularly at risk of food insecurity; About 24% of lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual WSW women (women who have sex with men) reported food insecurity in the past 12 months, compared with 13.1% of heterosexual women.

For Tammi Wallace, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, the opportunity to give back to these seniors is huge, especially in December.

“These are seniors, many of whom have truly paved the way for the rights we have today, the liberties, the freedoms we enjoy as an LGBTQ+ community, ‘ said Wallace. “We need to do more work, but they really paved the way and we can’t let them go hungry, and certainly not during the holidays.”

This year marks 25 years since the Montrose Center supports the hungry through its holiday box program.

SEE MORE: Law Harrington Senior Center is making history for the LGBTQ community +

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Dais Johnston

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