Aging While Trans:

LGBTQ+ communities often have an obsession with youth, and a hatred of “growing old.”  And a world often hostile to our lives and bodies leaves many young queer and trans people thinking that they will simply never live past 30 and therefore don’t need to worry about aging. This ignores several realities of aging: 

  1. Aging is a lifelong developmental process that happens to everyone, not some ailment of older adults. 
  2. Queer and Trans communities have ALWAYS been intergenerational, and the wisdom, experiences, and perspectives of people of all ages are essential to our understanding and wellbeing. 
  3. Ensuring queer and trans people can lead long and full lives is THE GOAL. We all deserve to experience every part of those lives with joy, love, community and belonging. 

This page is a quick resource guide to some commonly asked questions we get from many trans elders and those who love them, as well as the start of a larger project on gathering together information, resources, and stories from transgender people of all ages to discuss what aging means to them.

Who is an Elder? 

Much like the alphabet soup of gender terminology that exists, there are lots of terms used when we talk about aging to talk about people with more than a few decades under their belts. In many social work settings, we are taught to refer to older adults as just that, “older adults.” In many spiritual and organizing settings, “elder” is a term frequently used with the intent of recognizing and respecting lived experience and wisdom. Folks in one of our groups for older adults often call themselves “the relics and fossils club.”  

Just who is an elder to who can get a bit complicated in the trans community at times. Someone in their 70’s who is just coming out and transitioning surely has a lot of lived experience that makes them an elder, but they might have less lived experience as a trans person navigating the world as themselves than a 22 year old who transitioned at 13. 

When we talk about “elders” here, we are mostly talking about older adults, but we also are working to shift the idea of who needs this information by focusing on aging as a lifelong process. 


Practical Resources: 

Medicare: This webpage by the National Center for Trans Equality includes updated information about medicare coverage for transgender and gender affirming healthcare needs.

Social SecurityA guide from the National Center for Transgender Equality about social security and legal name and gender marker changes.

Maine Legal Documents and IDs:  A guide from MaineTransNet about Maine State IDs, birth certificates and other vital record changes for legal name and gender marker changes.

Benefits CheckUp: An online tool to help you determine if you are receiving all the benefits you are eligible for.

Creating a Care PlanAn LGBT Person’s guide to preparing for a medical procedure, a publication by SAGE National.

Prepare to CareA planning guide for caregivers in the LGBT community, a publication by SAGE national

Aging in HomeCommon Problems and Solutions guide by Home Advisor.

SAGE Maine Resource Guide

Transitioning Later in Life: 

Transgender Aging NetworkThe Transgender Aging Network (TAN) exists to improve the lives of current and future trans/SOFFA (Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies) elders. Includes several resource guides, a facebook page, and an email listserve community for trans people 50 and older. Run by our friends at Forge.

MaineTransNet Support Groups for Elders and Older adults:

Sage Maine

Aging in Maine Resources: 

Maine Council on Aginga statewide organization and coalition working to advocate for an aging friendly Maine.

Maine Senior Guide: A resource and social guide for Maine seniors.

Legal Services for the Elders : Legal help for Maine seniors

AARP Maine

Maine Area Agencies on Aging

Health Considerations: 

 Medicare:  This webpage by the National Center for Trans Equality includes updated information about medicare coverage for transgender and gender affirming healthcare needs.

National LGBT Cancer Network:  The National LGBT Cancer Network works to improve the lives of LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk.


Jennifer Finney BoylanThe writing and books of Jennifer Finney Boylan are a common favorite here in Maine, where she is From. JFB is a New York Times Best Selling author whose memoirs about her life as a trans woman span several decades of living and working in Maine, raising children, and transitioning while married. 

Stories and Possibilities:

Aging can be hard for those in the trans community:  A great article from the Washington Post about the challenges faced by transgender people as they age.