Reflexive Planning for Later Life: Minority Stress and Aging Challenges among Midlife Chinese Lesbians and Gay Men

Iris Po Yee Lo*, Emma H. Liu, Daniel W. L. Lai, Elsie Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines how Chinese lesbians and gay men make sense of the prospect of growing old and plan for later life in Hong Kong, where same-sex relationships are yet to be legally recognized. Drawing on in-depth narrative interviews, the results show that lesbians and gay men in midlife reported a range of previous, current, and anticipated challenges associated with the stigma attached to homosexuality. These, in turn, shaped their ways of perceiving and planning for later life. Three forms of reflexivity in response to minority stress and the prospect of aging were identified: coping with fears of aging alone, striving for self-mastery, and planning ahead with feelings of wariness. Participants’ concerns and plans around aging demonstrated differing degrees of reflexivity, through which they attempted to navigate family norms and structural constraints and find ways to accumulate resources for later life. Meanwhile, their heightened sense of uncertainty and insecurity showed that their perceptions and experiences of aging were influenced by minority stress and material, familial, and socio-political circumstances. This article builds a constructive dialogue between sexuality and aging studies by unraveling both the aging insecurity and capacities for reflexive planning among an oft-neglected group of sexual minority people in midlife.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aging
  • gay
  • lesbian
  • midlife
  • minority stress
  • reflexivity
  • sexuality

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