Background: Internationally, increases in the numbers of older people will be reflected in larger numbers of more socioculturally diverse groups of older people requiring care provided by residential care facilities. Covert and overt instances of homophobia are evident within residential care services provided to older lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Aims: To explore the perceptions of care staff working in residential care homes towards older lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Design: Critical gerontology formed the methodological foundations for focus group discussions with care staff from seven residential care facilities. Hypothetical vignettes were used to stimulate discussion amongst participants. Results: Thematic analysis of the seven focus group interviews illuminated three themes: 'Knowing me knowing you', 'Out of sight out of mind' and 'It's a generational thing'. Subtle as well as not so subtle forms of homophobia were evident in each of the themes. Care staff felt they were largely unprepared to provide care to older lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Conclusion: This small-scale New Zealand study identifies that the residential care sector is not always supportive, or prepared, to provide a care service to those people identifying as lesbian, gay and bisexual. Implications for practice: Findings from this study recommend the implementation of principle-based guidelines, opportunities to participate in ongoing education and partnering with non-heterosexual community organisations in order to provide culturally appropriate care to older lesbian, gay and bisexual people.