Ted Brown said his now-deceased civil partner of 50 years, Noel Glynn, received bruises and cigarette burns from homophobic workers while living in a London nursing home for nine months. Brown sued the local council that oversees the home, and the council offered a £30,000 ($38,266 U.S.) settlement to Brown two years ago, but he said he hasn’t received any of the promised money yet.
Glynn lived in the Albany Lodge Nursing Home in Croydon in South London from December 2018 to October 2019 while receiving care for dementia. Brown paid £1,400 ($1,787) a month for Glynn’s care. Brown said two LGBTQ+ residents advised them to stay closeted otherwise “that won’t be good for either of you.” Brown became alarmed several months later when he discovered that Glynn had tried to independently leave the nursing home four times.
“I don’t like it here, they beat me up,” Glynn told a social worker in January 2019, The Guardian reported. Glynn told Brown that he had been held down and punched, leaving him with bruises on his chest and wrists, My London News reported.
When Brown and a friend examined Glynn’s body, they found “a bruise on his body that went from his navel, around his back, together with a yellowing bruise on his chest where you could still see the knuckle prints where he had been punched,” the aforementioned publication noted.
A whistleblower at the home told Brown that he witnessed a staff member approach Glynn in the hallway and ask, “Are you a gay man? Do you like gay men?“ The worker then dragged Glynn into his room and “everyone heard the sounds of him calling out for help for two or three minutes.”
A doctor who examined Glynn said in court documents, “He could not give me any details of who beat him up, how many times and when and where this happened, but he clearly appeared frightened and distressed.”
Brown also said that the staff refused to acknowledge their relationship. He two met at the first-ever London Pride event in 1972, which Glynn helped organize. But even though the two were legally civil partners, the staff referred to Glynn as Brown’s “father,” something that made no sense to Brown.
“There is no way these people could have mistaken Noel for being my father,” he told My London News. “At the time he was 76. I was 69…. I’m Black. He was white. No way was he my father. I think this was just the written way of letting me know [that] we don’t recognize your civil partnership.”
“Several of us fought to get the rights that we’ve got now,” Brown told The Guardian, “and, as we get older, we have the frightening reality that we have to go back into the closet if we go into a care home.”
A spokesperson from Future Care Group, which owns Albany Lodge, said that they worked closely with authorities in investigating the claims and implementing changes since then.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents has always been our greatest priority and, in line with our values, we have mandatory diversity and equality training for all staff,” the spokesperson said.
Glynn moved out of the nursing home and into a new facility in October 2019. Glynn died in December 2021 after falling and fracturing his ribs.
A 2021 survey found that LGBTQ+ elders are suffering alarming rates of poverty, discrimination, health care risk, and abuse, but most don’t report it over fear of retaliation or hopelessness of anything being done to help them.