Every funeral is unique and with a little thought and attention to detail, it is possible to create an event that truly reflects the beliefs, values, spirituality and personality of the person who has died.
Often people worry about how they will be represented after they have died and this can be particularly true for the LGBTQ+ community. They may worry that those tasked with making funeral arrangements may not create an event that truly reflects their life and who was important to them.
Here are 5 key considerations for those arranging an LGBTQ+ funeral.
Set out your wishes in advance
Funeral choices reflect the person who has died and are helpful for their friends and family. It is perfectly acceptable to set out your wishes and include them in your will or in a separate document to make sure you are represented in the way you would like.
If you know what you would like, or what you would prefer not to have for your funeral, it can be helpful for those arranging your funeral to see it written down. This may be one or two simple wishes, or a more elaborate plan. You may want to make those closest to you aware that you have set out your wishes or you could even to discuss your wishes with them so that they understand what is important to you. Remember, leaving instructions is helpful to people and they will find it consoling to fulfil your wishes.
Find support from someone who understands your perspective
The best way to ensure that our funeral needs are met is to make sure that the right people lead the arrangements and that your wishes are known.
Your funeral wishes are not legally binding although in most cases they will be fulfilled by those responsible for making the funeral arrangements. One way to make sure this happens is to enlist the support of those who are sensitive to your requests.
Funeral directors want to give people the best possible support and are generally kind and compassionate. However, they come with their own personal and professional experiences and some will be more confident in supporting people from the LGBTQ+ community than others.
It can be helpful to give some thought to who your executors might be too. it is usual for the executors named in a will to take responsibility for the funeral arrangements.
Think about the kind of funeral you want
Some people from the LGBTQ+ community may want the funeral to reflect their relationships and identity whereas others may choose for this aspect of their lives to be relatively private and understated.
If you aren’t sure what you want, then you can find out more about the choices available to you by reading the funeral self-help book “Funerals Your Way”, a funeral planning guide written by Sarah Jones, the founder of Full Circle Funerals. It is an easy read, which highlights your choices and prompts you to consider what you think works best for you.
Your funeral director should offer to dress you in your own clothes, so if there’s something specific that you’d like to wear, a particular style you’d like honouring or one that you’d rather was avoided completely, it can be helpful to record these wishes.
Some people find it helpful and important to be involved in physically caring for someone after they have died. This may include styling their hair, applying their make-up, or painting their nails in the manner they liked best. It can also include washing a person and performing other aspects of personal care for them. In most circumstances, your funeral director should facilitate this in the manner that works best for you. If it is important for you to be cared for by individuals of a particular gender, then this is usually possible.
Funeral directors understand the importance of confidentiality and if they are a member of a trade association then they will be bound to the confidentiality standards of that organisation. They will aim to keep confidential information private and will not share any unnecessary information about gender, personal and sexual relationships with colleagues, other professionals or anyone involved on the funeral arrangements.
This is a guest blog from Full Circle Funerals.
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