Targeting an older generation open about its sexuality and thinking about its golden years, some developers are looking to build gay-friendly retirement communities.
"We want to create something that mirrors the life they're living now," said Boston real estate agent John Goode, part of a group that is planning an urban homosexual retirement community in Boston.
In generations past, societal pressures forced many gays and lesbians to keep their sexual orientation under wraps. Today, developers think those who helped pave the way for vibrant gay communities will want to continue living in gay communities after retirement.
"In the mainstream aging community, there is the assumption that everyone is straight," said Terry Kaelber, executive director of the New York-based Seniors Active in a Gay Environment. "We have a place that does not assume that. In fact, it assumes that old people can be attracted to old people of the same gender."
Kaelber's group is working with a development firm to find a site and investors for a 100-unit mixed-income assisted-living facility.
Current options for gay- and lesbian-theme retirement housing consist primarily of a handful of mobile home parks and small resorts in Florida and Arizona.
Gay retirement housing options will likely increase in the coming years, said Laura Connolly, who chairs the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network for the American Society on Aging in San Francisco.
Goode's group wants to build a 75- to 100-unit retirement community in Boston. The project, called Stonewall Communities, is named after a gay bar in New York where a 1969 police raid sparked what many say was the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
Other entrepreneurs also have begun thinking about how gay and lesbian baby boomers pushing into their fifties will want to spend their retirement years.
"I'm looking for the active retirement market," said Peter Lundberg of San Francisco, who is seeking capital to build a gay retirement community in California. "It's essentially a Sun City for gays and lesbians, without the golf course."