Gay Retirement Home to Open in Ariz.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – A St. Louis-based firm has announced plans to open a retirement home in Surprise, Ariz. for gay and lesbian retirees.

As the oldest of the baby boomers (Americans born between 1946 and 1964) prepare for retirement Out Properties LLC plans to open a resort community to gay boomers (whom the company dubs “gayby boomers”) who are concerned abut being out and safe in their golden years. Called Marigold Creek, the community is slated to open in fall 2009.

Although sunny New Mexico, another popular retirement destination, has been home to a similar resort – managed RainbowVision Properties Inc. in Santa Fe – Marigold Creek will be the first community of its kind in Arizona.

Other such communities exist or are being planned in Florida and California.

Some Arizona retirees have already expressed support for the community.

“The really big advantage is, you don't have to go back into the closet and squish yourself,” Tucson resident Frances Coleman, 53, told The Arizona Republic. “You can live with your partner and not have to pretend you're roommates.”

As the founder of a senior group at Wingspan, an outreach center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Tucson, Coleman said she has met many retirees who stay in the closet out of fear of rejection or intimidation.

Lyn Truitt, Surprise’s mayor, also expressed support for the community.

“We’re not a community that puts up barriers,” he said. “Rather, we take them down.”

The 32 acre Marigold Creek complex is scheduled to open the first of its units next year. The resort will eventually include 190 condos and homes priced between $249,000 and $850,000. Like other gated retirement communities it will have such things as swimming pools, walking trails, a fitness center, a theatre, cabaret and restaurants.

Although the community is designed for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender retirees, units are available to retirees of all orientations.

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