Madrid could soon be the location of the first retirement home targeted at lesbians, gays bisexuals and transgender people in Spain, aiming to overcome homophobia against older people.
A gay and lesbian non-governmental organisation, have already found a site in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, a Madrid suburb, which they can use for the new retirement complex.
The organisation, December 26, is named after the date in 1978 when gay men were finally removed from a law against people deemed “socially dangerous”. Federico Armenteros, who heads it, now needs a further 100 like-minded people to become members of the co-operative who can start paying the quota needed to raise a bank mortgage. So far 20 have joined.
The complex will boast a gym, library, launderette, conference room, shop and restaurant, and at €1,000 ($1,300) per month to live in, would cost considerably less than the average price of €1,400 in Madrid. It will house up to 230 residents with over 30 staff and have 120 apartments and studios, with some set aside for those who are HIV positive.
Armenteros says: ‘Most homes simply won’t let them in. This will be a place that is open to everyone and where no one will have to hide their sexuality.’
Many older gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in retirement homes in Spain have had to ‘go back in the closet’, while others are insulted, ignored and even isolated because no-one will wants to share a room with them.
‘What we want is a space of tolerance, where anybody can come,’ says Armenteros, adding that everybody is welcome, including straight people.
If the NGO does not get enough people, they will have to take ownership of the rest and rent out apartments but if all goes, the residence could be open by 2014. If successful, cities such as Benidorm and Sitges are possible places where other similar retirement homes could be opened.