Funeral Planning for the LGBTQ+ Community

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, April 15, 2024

When it comes to end-of-life services, it is important to have a plan in order. This can be especially true for many LGBTQ+ people. In the event of your passing, your wishes should be upheld for your funeral service. However, families with strained relationships can often create conflicts during end-of-life services. Additionally, not all funeral homes may be as amenable to the queer community. This article can serve as a guide for funeral planning for gay, trans, queer, or non-binary people. Below, we will review some of the more important aspects to consider.

Planning Ahead

Planning your funeral is often considered a morbid thought, but it can be important for ensuring your wishes are met. This includes making arrangements with a funeral home, choosing burial or cremation, and more. Pre-planning also lets you begin pre-paying for your services. This helps reduce the financial burden of a service on your loved ones.

Choosing a Funeral Home

Unfortunately, not every funeral home is equally accepting of LGBTQ+ folks. Don’t be afraid to do your research or shop around. Look for a funeral home that presents itself as LGBTQ+ friendly, trains its staff to use inclusive language, and has experience working with families of LGBTQ+ people. Funeral homes that cater to diverse cultural backgrounds are a good place to start. Overall, you want to choose a funeral home where you will be respected. 

Choosing an Advocate for Your Wishes

In the event of your passing, it is important that your wishes are documented, and that you establish a close loved one to advocate in your stead. Often, people choose a spouse, trusted family member, significant other, or close friend. Talk with an estate attorney to establish an Advance Directive. This is a document that establishes your end-of-life wishes, as well as an executor for them. Without an advance directive, your funeral plans will likely be made by your next of kin, who may not be as respectful of your wishes as the person you would choose. Your estate attorney will likely advise you to provide a copy of your Advance Directive to your doctor and the advocate you choose. 

Plans for Your Body

Generally, people decide whether to be cremated or buried. But there are also other choices that you can make. For example, whether you want to donate organs or your body. Many medical and scientific organizations take cadaver donations to advance research. If you choose burial, you should consider where you will be buried or interred. For cremation, you will have to decide what will happen to the remains. Will they be scattered, put in an urn, or multiple urns? Many funeral homes will offer smaller urns and keepsake jewelry that can keep a small amount of ashes. 

Considerations for Transgender and Non-Binary Individuals

For trans and non-binary folk, there are other aspects of the death process that can be more complicated. For one, some cemeteries allow people to customize grave markers beyond the name on the death certificate. This is important for those without a legal name change. You want to make sure you choose a cemetery that will respect your chosen name. If you are a veteran and would like a burial in a national cemetery or a military honor ceremony, you will likely need a legal name change. 
For those with a gender X marker on their birth certificate, it is important to look into how this may affect important documents and legal paperwork. This is especially important if you reside in a different state from where you were born. 

For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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