New research published by Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare reveals that lesbian, gay and bisexual people grow older fearing discrimination and isolation.
A YouGov poll showed that 48% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people fear discrimination when dealing with bereavement while 55% of those over the age of 45 have no financial provision for their funeral.
Shockingly, one in ten say they have experienced discrimination at a funeral or when arranging one.
Those in the London and the North were most concerned about receiving poor treatment because of their sexual orientation. More Londoners than any other area believe they will face barriers when planning a funeral or in arranging end of life care.
According to the study, family members and religious leaders were the most likely to discriminate against gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
In response to these fears, a guide for lesbian, gay and bisexual people on planning for later life has been developed by Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare. It offers helpful advice on the law, making financial provision, such as a will or purchasing a funeral plan, and offers tips on planning and arranging a funeral.
‘Many older lesbian, gay and bisexual people grew up in a time when they were discriminated against and persecuted simply because of who they are. It’s therefore hardly surprising that so many feel reluctant to access services to help them plan for later life.
At Stonewall we know that we stand on the shoulders of a generation whose tireless work helped to change Britain and the world for the better. We now have a responsibility to make sure that they receive the help and support they deserve for themselves and their families. That is why we’re working with community groups and faith organisations to help make this a reality.’
Ruth Hunt, Acting Chief Executive of Stonewall
George Tinning, Managing Director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said:
‘Despite changes to the law to provide equal rights for people regardless of their sexual orientation and a perceived greater acceptance in society, it is clear from our research that barriers remain even in death. The death of a loved one can be deeply distressing but at a time when people should expect sympathy and understanding, many gay people have faced poor treatment as a result of discrimination and this is simply unacceptable. As well as producing a guide to offer helpful advice to customers, we are also providing guidance to our staff to ensure that we always offer the same care, guidance and support to all our clients.’
George Tinning, Managing Director of The Co-operative Funeralcare