Older LGBT people will be able to attend two social networking events in Tower Hamlets and Redbridge this summer.

The events are being held by Age Concern and Positive East, an HIV charity.

James Monger, senior manager at Age Concern Redbridge, said: “Society’s attitudes are changing, but our experience is that a lot of older gay people still feel marginalised and fearful of discrimination. For some, the days when you could end up in jail for being gay are still within living memory. They can be reluctant to talk openly to service providers, such as health and social care, and as a result their needs are often neglected or misunderstood.”

Research has found that older LGBT people are more likely to smoke and drink than their straight counterparts and are far more likely to live alone. In addition, only ten per cent are estimated to have children.

According to Age Concern, up to 75 per cent of older lesbians‚ gay men and bisexuals live alone compared with 33 per cent of the general older population.

Fazal Mahmood of Positive East said: “This is an opportunity for LGBT community who are over 50 to inform service providers on what they would like in their borough. It’s also a chance to get to know other people who may be isolated and want to make new friends”

The events are scheduled for Friday July 17th, from 6-9pm in Stepney Green, and on Saturday August 8th, from 5-8pm in Ilford.

LGBT people aged 50 and over who would like further information, including venue details, should contact Fazal Mahmood via email on Fazal.Mahmood@Positiveeast.org.uk, or call him on 020 7791 2855 or 07958 690156.