Document Type


Publication details

Hughes, M 2004, 'Privacy, sexual identity and aged care', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 381-392.

Peer Reviewed



Privacy is a key quality indicator in aged care and is acknowledged in the Australian Government's Quality of Care Principles 1997. The promotion of individuals' rights to privacy is also used to advocate freedom of sexual expression and was used as a rationale for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. This paper examines issues facing older gays and lesbians in the public expression of their sexual identities in aged care settings. It focuses on privacy practices that facilitate or limit identity expression. It is argued that aged care providers and workers need to construct relatively safe environments that enable older gays and lesbians to disclose and express their sexual identity. Failure to do so may mean that some gays and lesbians are forced back into the closet in their older age: a form of institutionalised homophobia.

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