J: I’m in single lesbian living in south London – in a flat I own. I have no children and want to plan how and where I want to live as I age. I want to develop a community with my own living space alongside communal facilities where we can meet, eat and have social time. I would like it to be an alternative to a retirement home, moving into providing care as needed as I age – a true alternative to residential care for feminist lesbians!
F: I’m a single lesbian living in north London, in a rented housing association flat. I love living on my own, but i would like that to be as part of a wider community of lesbians, sharing similar core values, with shared space where we can socialise, share skills and support one another. And in my ideal scenario, some of those women will love playing bridge and Scrabble 🙂
L: I am a feminist activist on violence against women since the 1970s. I live and work in London, and have been an academic for almost 30 years. In the 1970s I lived in a shared household, and have shared living spaces with friends and partners over the time since then. Currently I live alone in a flat that I own. I have always been involved in building womenâ€™s organisations and spaces and my interest in the co-housing project stems from this. For the last four years I have been a member of two older lesbian groups, exploring how we might grow older differently: this project offers me a way to put some of these ideas into practice. I want to be part of creating a community which creates a new way of living, integrating a politics about how we live, share skills and interests, based on a culture a care which respects differences.
M: As I get older I would like to live in an environment where:
â€¢ There is a sense of community and we support/help each other where needed
â€¢ We have an alternative community of lesbian feminists
â€¢ We know our neighbours
â€¢ Weâ€™re not isolated
â€¢ We all have our own space but also have communal space where we can meet up and get together
E: Older Lesbian Feminist Co-Housing: Beginnings of a â€˜visionâ€™
Through my involvement in lesbian feminist co-housing. I want to continue -during the third stage of my life – to explore actively what it means to live my feminist politics. I should like us to create an environment that is stimulating, which gives us pleasure in its design, is a space for creativity, and which is a project that allows each of us the opportunity to continue our personal and political growth. Our co-housing community would be made up of separate living units and might, for example, also include a space with a self-run cafÃ©, an exhibition space, a meeting space and even a performance space. The project would build in design details from the outset that would create true â€˜homes for lifeâ€™ capable of evolving to meet our changing needs. The co-housing community would be a nurturing and inspiring space for the older lesbian feminists who live there. However it would also be a space that opens its doors to the wider community through (possibly) organising themed â€˜eventsâ€™ that relate to and draw on our feminist politics. In this way it would be an â€˜activistâ€™ community â€“ inviting others to share in and experience ways of ageing that contradict societal stereotypesâ€¦
S:I have joined this group in my 60th year. Earlier in my working life I spent some time working in a charity with older people and I have seen how isolated older people can so easily become, say following a health problem or a bereavement. Our culture is routinely ageist: older people are just not thought of as of having the same value as younger people and I dont want to age in that environment. I want my sexuality, which is core to who I am and how I view the world, to be celebrated and a part of how I live right until the end. I want to live my later years in the close company of like minded lesbians. Bring on Brinker Housing!