Dissertations & Theses (Open Access)

Date of Award

Summer 8-2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)


Constance Johnson, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Stacey Crane, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Ann J. Robison, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

J. Michael Wilkerson, Ph.D


Background: Baby boomer gay men have experiences discrimination in healthcare settings. Members of the LGBTQIA+ population are often studied as a single entity, which fails to account for the distinct cultural and social generational differences within this population that may affect their experiences of health care. A paucity of research is available on baby boomer gay men’s perspectives about primary healthcare experiences. Such knowledge is necessary to improve inclusiveness in healthcare settings and health outcomes.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe baby boomer gay men’s lived experiences with primary healthcare. The specific aims are to describe: (1) the common barriers and facilitators baby boomer gay men experience in initiating and maintaining primary healthcare, and (2) the commonalities and differences of their lived experiences in doing so.

Methods: This study was conducted with a latent-thematic qualitative approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in person or virtually with 30 baby boomer gay men (born between 1946 and 1964) who utilized primary healthcare within the past year. Six LGBTQIA+ or LGBTQIA+-friendly community-based organizations located within Houston, Texas provided social support and primary healthcare services. A professional, HIPAA-compliant service transcribed audio recordings of the interviews. The PI de-identified the transcribed interviews, reviewed them for accuracy, and added emotional context. Recruitment continued until data saturation occurred and no new themes emerged.

Results: Analysis of baby boomer gay men interviews revealed that this group continues to anticipate rejection by new or unknown primary healthcare providers because of their sexual orientation. The cycle of anticipating rejection and discrimination can occur each time the participant seeks a new healthcare provider. Study participants expressed concerns about mistreatment in future long-term care settings despite the availability of an LGBTQIA+ senior living center this study’s geographical region of this study. Others described positive encounters with providers, particularly after establishing healthcare with a known gay or gay-friendly provider.

Conclusion: While facilitators to healthcare mirrored similar studies, our study indicates that baby boomer gay men continue to experience barriers to primary healthcare and are concerned about access to gay or gay-friendly providers in future long-term care settings. Concerns also exist about mistreatment in long-term care because of their sexual orientation. Opportunities exist for ongoing research about improving healthcare settings and sexual minority experiences.


Baby boomer gay men, barriers, facilitators, managing disclosure, primary and long-term healthcare, healthcare providers

Included in

Nursing Commons



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