Pride Month is seen by society at large as a time to celebrate the splendor of gender and sexual diversity. For those of us within the LGBTQ2S community, it has always also been a time to rally together around our continuing struggles and oppression. Here I'd like to lightly delve into how these struggles continue within the normative structures of conventional death care.
Just like all of us, my gender and sexual identity is something I take with me everywhere I go. It informs the way I perceive, and am perceived by, the world. While completing an End Of Life Care program and venturing out into the world of volunteering with hospice, I started to see the gaps in our various cultural systems which can make all stages of death care especially difficult for our community members. Through my own experiences and through those shared with me by colleagues, classmates, and friends it has become clear to me that the LGBTQ2S community, as always, benefits from coming together to discuss and action solutions that fit our specific needs.
In the world of death care for the broader queer and trans community, issues that often come up around this include;
-needing to go back in the closet to safely access end of life or elderly care
-being non-consensually outed in death
-estrangement from family of origin and what happens when they are legal next of kin
-what happens when legal gender and names don't match those used in life
-the ramifications of nearly an entire generation of elders dying from AIDS and AIDS related illnesses
-lack of community-specific resources and care outside of major cities
-how to engage in communities of care outside of conventional family structures
-ensuring that gender and sexuality affirming practices in life are respected in death
I'm so thrilled that through my volunteer work with HHA, I have the opportunity to facilitate an LGBTQ2S focused Death Cafe on a monthly basis. In this space, we discuss our thoughts and experiences related to all the issues listed above, as well as the joys we have found in the creativity, resiliency, and adaptability of our community. It doesn't solve all the issues we face at end of life, but it gives us a space to hear and hold each other while we figure it out.
Tiana is a white settler, cis woman, leatherdyke, and mother currently living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory (so-called Ottawa). She offers support, guidance, education, and reassurance to queer and queer-adjacent community members who are planning for their eventual deaths, who have received a terminal diagnosis, or who are caring for a loved one who is dying. Tiana offers this service outside of a capitalist framework - Join Tiana for our next LBGTQ2 Death Cafe by Registering Here
Home Hospice Association continues it’s celebration of Pride Month on June 17 when educator, semi-professional athlete and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Rights Activist Alex Andras speaks of his experience growing up as a transgender man in rural Ontario.
The next workshop in the Many Faces of Compassion Series
Free ~ Virtual