By MATTHEW ROSENTHAL and TEE ROGERS
When we talk to families about end-of-life planning, we should be reducing the uneasiness for them as much as possible. We must be sensitive to individual circumstance, and it is essential that we know about resources in our community where patients of diverse identities can find affirming, safe professionals to support them.
Facing mortality is difficult enough for all of us, but some have added concerns. When your diverse patients – specifically, LGBTQ+ or those of religious minorities or secular identities – think about deathcare planning, they may face anxiety about how their identity will affect their care – a stress point you can help mitigate using the tools in this article.
DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) fluency means being educated about diverse identities, aware of identity experiences, and knowledgeable about resources. Being Identity Affirming means serving as a safe and understanding professional space where diverse identity individuals are welcomed, honored for who they are, and do not have to feel uncomfortable or judged.
End of life care professionals who are DEI fluent and identity affirming can ease concerns and make a difficult situation much less challenging. They can also connect clients to networks of other affirming providers and resources.
Your clients may worry that hospice care workers won’t be affirming or possibly even accepting of an identity, that an estate planning attorney won’t help ensure that someone other than their next of kin can handle final arrangements, or that family or deathcare professionals will hold or perform services that are unwanted or dishonoring to their identity.
Solutions & Resources
There’s a new free resource for your patients: Identity Affirming Deathcare Directives © A complement to other planning documents, this fill-in-the-blank style workbook records identity preferences and how they will be honored during hospital/hospice care and by funeral and cemetery professionals. It lets loved ones know how we perceive our identity and how that identity informs our own decisions about our care at the end of our life.
The workbook is for LGBTQ+ identities as well as all Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities (RSSI). It guides through identity choices for hospice and for final arrangements.
Planning ahead for our care as death approaches and for our care after death has occurred, is essential. It reduces stress for our loved ones as well as ourselves, providing a roadmap that answers the financial, emotional, and logistical questions that will arise. Preplanning quells chaos at the time those decisions need to be made, but it also gives us peace of mind now; we no longer have to worry about what is going to happen or where we or our loved ones will turn for help when the time comes.
Download the workbook here
Free download of the Identity-Affirming Deathcare Directives© workbook, workshop information, and identity affirming grief support resources.
Workshops or Q&A sessions
Interested in further discussion to enhance awareness for your staff regarding deathcare resources for all LGBTQ+ and minority Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities (RSSI)?
Schedule a free on-site workshop or Q&A session about identity affirming end-of-life planning or ask us about community workshop schedules.
The first community workshop will be held on August 11. Details and RSVP: http://IADD-081122.eventbrite.com
Identity Affirming Grief Support Resources
There are many resources for support when grieving a loss; unfortunately, grief support groups and even mental health providers may turn people of diverse identities away. Or if not turned away, the person seeking help may find themselves in a “support” relationship that is not at all supportive of their identity.
- The Center Orlando Resource Guide: https://thecenterorlando.org/resourceguide
- NAMI Resource Guide:
- 26 Health, Mental Health Resources:
- National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging:
- PRIDE Chamber (LGBTQ+/Ally owned businesses and organizations):
Secular Resources (Atheist, Humanist, and other non-religious identities)
- Find Humanist Celebrants and Chaplains:
- Humanist Celebrants or Chaplains serve the non-religious community in the same role as religious clergy.
- Contact The Humanist Society for referrals:
- Humanist Celebrant Orlando:
- Recovering From Religion (local support groups):
- Grief Beyond Belief:
- Readings, Links, & Resources:
- Death, Grief, and Belief:
- Secular Therapy Project:
- Humanist Community in Central Florida:
- Central Florida Freethought Community:
- Other groups & support
Find resource list here: https://humanistcelebrantorlando.com/identity-affirming-resources/
Identity Affirming Final Arrangements Planning
There are heartbreaking stories of how people of diverse identities experience the funeral industry and end-of-life planning: people denied service from funeral homes and grief support, experiencing fear of being dishonored in death and having identity ignored or even erased, and loved ones traumatized by family rifts and battles over final arrangements.
There are tools available to help families plan ahead, mitigating these and other challenges.
Matthew Rosenthal, Esq. of Rosenthal Meyer, PLLC provides comprehensive advanced estate planning that solves many of the issues that arise after a death occurs. Tee Rogers is a funeral and cemetery planning advisor with Dignity Memorial. Together, we created the Identity Affirming Deathcare Directives© workbook and we both serve in our Central Florida community providing identity affirming planning services.
Follow up and Further Information
If you would like further information on identity affirming deathcare planning or any of these resources, contact Tee Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-608-9242.
For information on identity-affirming estate planning and legal questions, contact Matthew Rosenthal, Esq., email@example.com or 407-504-9725.