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Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2015.

For this Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (17th May), I thought I would write about something a little different.

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There is so much badness in the world overall, that sometimes it seems to be almost overwhelming. Good things leap out like rare diamonds or rays of sunlight in an otherwise murky political environment, an environment charged with anger, fear and distrust.

So I was delighted to discover that in the Australian state of Victoria, there is a retirement village being built to cater for the LGBT community.

The community is called Linton Estate and is situated a short distance from the town of Ballan, which is about an hour's drive from the city of Melbourne, and between the towns of Geelong and Ballarat. This gives it the almost perfect location of being close to all that a city has to offer while being in a rural location. Indeed, the area is picturesque and Ballan itself is home to a vintage vehicle and machinery rally held in February which is apparently well-known for its tractor pull; an Autumn festival; a mineral spring and to the south of the town are the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs National Park.

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cc3.0 Mattinbgn :: The Mechanics Institute, one of the many beautiful buildings in Ballan.


The Linton Estate is the brainchild of Peter Dickson, who came up with the idea while enjoying a glass of wine with some friends. The conversation took place nearly thirty years ago, and part of it included the very real prospect of growing old and being able to retire comfortably with peers and carers.
The site of the Estate is located at 483 Old Melbourne Road, Ballan, and is currently vacant land, with blocks being sold to interested parties who are LGBTI. The developers who will be constructing housing and other community buildings are Cavalier Homes and the agent managing the properties is Stockdale and Leggo's Projects.

The finished estate will have, along with residential houses and other amenities, an indoor heated spa, a café, a bar, a croquet lawn, library, tennis courts and more. All in all, it is a beautiful idea in a beautiful location. From The Guardian:

Linton Estate will offer six-star resort facilities including a gym, 32-metre pool, wet and dry sauna, bar, restaurant and library. It has a focus on environmental sustainability, with solar street lighting and grey water systems. Prices start at about $400,000, although Dickson hopes to add a one-bedroom option at about $300,000. (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/24/retirement-homes-for-the-lgbt-community-go-from-dream-to-reality)


Peter Dickson says of the estate, "At a dinner party 28 years ago we talked about what we were going to do when we get old. We talked about being surrounded by friends and not being alone and isolated and forgotten about.

"They [LGBTI people] were born in the closet and come out of the closet and then go back into the closet due to fear of being picked on and isolation from each other. People that are not under the GLBTI community don’t actually know how discrimination happens to people or how much they are made uncomfortable. Places where they can’t hold hands or embrace or care for each other or dress without comment."

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Billboard at the land sale site :: Linton Estate Official Page.


The Stonewall Foundation in the UK has done a study and determined that LGBTI will be almost twice as much more likely to rely of support services as they age and more likely to struggle to find providers who understand the needs and concerns they have as they age. They are also more likely to live alone and also according to the study, there is a higher rate of alcohol related problems, depression and anxiety illnesses as well. The full study makes for sobering reading and can be accessed here. http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/lgb_in_later_life_final.pdf

GLBTI activist and academic, Rodney Coombe said of the Linton Estate project and LGBTI aging, "For some LGBTI people a specific aged care facility is the solution to the prejudice that can still be found in the aged care sector. But for the vast majority of LGBT seniors--those who want to live near family and longtime friends--the solution is better policies and more awareness training in existing facilities."

Dickson acknowledges that the estate may not be affordable to all LGBTI aging persons, but it is his hope that this estate will be the first of many and help stem the invisibility that so many aging LGBTI people feel. The project was given the go-ahead in 208 from the local shire council and after delays and some problems, it's ready for people to express their interest and seek to invest in and buy property for their retirement age.

Interest in residing in the estate has come from all over the world, including, Dickson says, Turkey, the USA, the UK and interstate here in Australia. The residents of Ballan have welcomed the development as good news for their area, saying that it will bring more people and therefore more jobs and money into the town, and a more diverse culture which will enrich the lives of the people who live in the area. There has, of course, been some dissent, which has been described as a very small group of religious people protesting the development. Overall, though, as the project progresses and the work continues, the positive reactions greatly outnumber the negative.

This is a wonderful development and I personally hope it will be the first of many such projects for the aged LGBTI community throughout Australia and the world. And if you're interested in taking a look around and seeing what will be on offer for residents, then check out the Property Search page here: https://www.villages.com.au/vic/ballan/linton-estate-1271 and the official Linton Estate page here: http://www.lintonestate.com.au/

Finally, an in-depth piece about the design and facilities can be accessed here: http://news.domain.com.au/domain/real-estate-news/the-30year-journey-to-australias-first-lgbti-village-20150424-1ms9lf.html and an older article about Australia's First LGBTI retirement village is accessible here: http://www.samesame.com.au/news/7179/Australias-1st-LGBT-Retirement-Village-coming-to-Victoria

_____________________________

As part of the Blog Hop, I will give two lucky commenters an ebook copy each of my new release, Waiting for the Moon and You Winners will be contacted by email. The contest ends on the 24th of May.



Blurb: All his life, Leith has loved Aaron, and all his life, Leith has wondered if Aaron returns his feelings. Through high school, college, and beyond, Leith and Aaron are drawn together and pulled apart. Leith is finally convinced he and Aaron are not meant to be when a cowardly act of violence against Leith changes everything.

Aaron returns to Leith's side, but Leith struggles to accept that Aaron can love him now.

If Leith doesn’t overcome his doubts and fears, he will forever be waiting for the moon and Aaron… and true love.

Leave a comment with your email address to enter the draw.

Hop link: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/
This is the first I've heard about anything like this. As the population gets older, places like this will be sorely needed.
Let's hope these retirement homes/villages won't be necessary in the furure so we can all grow old together no matter the color, religion or sexual preference or other differences
Thanks for this post and giveaway
Thank you for your post and participating in this blog hop.

kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com
thanks for participating in this great cause!

annmarief at gmail dot com
Very interesting article! Great to know this is available to those in the community! Thanks for participating in the blog hop and chance at your giveaway!
aegger.echo(at)yahoo(dot)com
Thank you! I thought it was really lovely to see that there are people who are thinking of when we're all older. Ageing is a talent we all share.
Thank you for such an informative post! I also hope that there won't be a need for such places in the future and that we can all just get along!

ree.dee.2014 at gmail.com
Wow, I had no idea that a community like this existed. It's certainly would be nice if there were more places like this.

humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com
Great Information
Thanks for sharing about this planned community. I really like the idea of the safe place for those retiring.
It made me think!
Thank you for such an interesting and informative post, it made makes obvious sense when you read it that current care/retirement homes may not support or cater for same sex couples or for those that are alone. I hope more affordable accommodation becomes available in the future, but this is certainly a step in the right direction and one they should be proud of.

Also thank you for being part of this blog hop and for the chance to win your book <3
Thanks for the great post. It was very interesting.
sstrode at scrtc dot com