In celebration of the five years since same-sex couples were legally entitled to marry, gay association Opus Gay (whose name pokes fun at the catholic movement Opus Dei) has launched the “Envelhecer fora do armário” project – an initiative designed to “combat cases where elderly people have freely assumed their sexual orientation, only to return to the closet for fear of not being accepted”.
The plan was forged in an official protocol with Lisbon council on Thursday.
Meantime, yesterday (June 5) marked the fifth anniversary of the “historic law” allowing gay couples to tie the knot in Portugal.
Lesbian couple Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão were the first to celebrate their new freedom, and since then an average of 318 same-sex ceremonies have gone ahead every year (1,591 in total) – with the majority involving men (1,060 male weddings as opposed to 531 for women).
Pro-gay groups stress nonetheless that there is “still a long way to go” to reduce prejudice against their way of life.
Three of the greatest milestones – which will involve tackling what Opus Gay label “homophobic politicians” – will be sanctioning the right of gay people to give blood, adopt children and make use of artificial insemination (in the case of lesbian couples).
Portugal is one of only 21 countries in the world that sanctions gay marriage, the latest of which to come on board has been Ireland.
As a recent study undertaken in the UK has pointed out, loneliness when it comes to gay pensioners is a serious problem, with gay and bisexual people three times more likely to spend their twilight years on their own.
The YouGov study also showed that while 90% of heterosexual couples have children, this is nothing like the case for homosexuals: with only a quarter of gay men having children, 50% in the case of lesbians.