Acknowledging and Reflecting Identity
For people from the LGBTQ+ community, there may be added anxiety and concerns around their care after death and about whether the funeral service will reflect and celebrate who they are.
Family, friends or colleagues may not know, or may not have accepted, the person’s LGBTQ+ status. Recording funeral wishes in writing, in advance, can help to ensure that they are followed. Here are some other things to think about.
Registering the Death
When registering a death, the name does not have to be the same as that on the Medical Certificate of Death. The information given to the Registrar just needs to be ‘believed to be true at the time of death’. However, do state their previous names too to avoid confusion with the Will or estate of the person who has died.
Finding the Right Funeral Professionals
Funeral industry professionals should follow best practice, which emphasises respect for personal privacy and states that those working in the industry should assume that nobody knows about the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person who has died unless they have been told otherwise.
Some websites have an ‘equalities statement’ or a visible ‘rainbow flag’. Looking at the content on the website and then talking to someone on the phone can help you to guage whether they will be sympathetic and supportive.
Ensuring Wishes are Respected
If you are concerned about who will take charge after your death, there are some practical and administrative tasks that can be completed in advance that will make it more likely that your wishes will be respected.
Make sure that you have appointed someone you trust as Next of Kin. This person does not have to be a relative or family member, it can be whomever you choose.
Next of Kin status allows that person to register the death and process the necessary paperwork for the funeral. This includes taking decisions such as to whom the ashes should be returned after the cremation.
If you want to give this person legal rights, then consider granting them a Lasting Power of Attorney
Dressing the Person Who Has Died
For many people, choosing the right outfit for burial or cremation is extremely important. It is a reflection of who they are and how they presented themselves to the world.
Any good funeral director will want to support and respect the wishes of the deceased or of those closest to them.
The person can be dressed as they wish as long as it complies with the usual restrictions. So prosthetics or material for binding the chest should be made from materials that are environmentally sound for burial or cremation.
A Service That is Right For You
These days, funerals services come in all shapes and sizes. There lots of options for location, style, modes of transport, content and overall ‘feel’. If you wish, it can be a joyous, vibrant celebration full of colour and spectacle, or something small, personal and private – the choice is yours.
You might find the whiteballoon Planning a Funeral Information and Inspiration pages useful. If you wish, your choices can be gathered and saved in a personalised Ideas Folder in our Planning Tools section.
For further information, funeral arranger Ash Hayworth’s Queer Funeral Guide is a great source of guidance and information.