Document Type

Article

Publication details

Post-print of: Hughes, M 2003, 'Talking about sexual identity with older men', Australian Social Work, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 258-266.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.0312-407x.2003.00078.x

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

How do social workers begin to talk about sexual identity when conducting assessments with older men? This paper focuses on work with older gay men and highlights the importance of talking about sexual identity in order to prevent it being rendered invisible. While there may be some risks associated with openly identifying as gay, such as homophobic violence, being open about one's sexuality is important for maintaining self-esteem and mental health. Despite the obstacles facing social workers in talking to older men about their sexual identity, it is essential that they do not ignore this aspect of people's lives. Therefore it is important that social workers open themselves up to the possibility that an older man might be gay or bisexual and help construct environments that enable the disclosure of this aspect of his identity.