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America ReFramed

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Stories from the Stage

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Upfront

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Bioneers

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Link Voices

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Foreign Correspondent

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Four Corners

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Tending Nature

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Prism

Hostile Homes and LGBT Seniors: Marsha's Story

Is getting older getting any easier? For some, earlier prejudices die hard and can come to the forefront in assisted living environments. Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit against a senior housing facility in Illinois for failing to protect their client Marsha Wetzel, a resident of the facility. Wetzel experienced harassment, discrimination and violence at the hands of other residents because of her sex and sexual orientation. 

In this film, Wetzel  remembers Judy, her beloved partner of many years, and the difficulties LGBT individuals face in our society as they age. When Judy passed away from cancer, Wetzel had no one to turn to, not even their son. "When you retire and you're gay, there's more fear, more worry, more staying on your toes," she says. 

After being placed in an assisted living home, upon confiding in a fellow resident that she was gay, Wetzel received threats and was made to feel very uncomfortable, even by the staff. After her experience, Wetzel wonders how many other LGBT senior receive the same or similar treatment. "I want people to know stop pushing us around," she says.

Wetzel says she is raising awareness about this issue not only for herself, but for her partner Judy and the love she has for her.

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