At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Doneley Meris about the struggles and discrepancies those in the LGBT community deal with during end of life.
Individuals who identify gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgendered, are still looked at differently at the end of their lives despite the fact that there’s been a lot of advances in the area of same sex marriages and equality.
The stigma and discrimination is still present when dealing when end of life situations. Doneley goes into more detail about this in the video below.
Here are some key takeaways from the video:
- Even after tragedies like 9/11, loved ones were still not treated like family if they were not legally married, even if they had been with each other for years.
- After 9/11, Doneley ran a support group for LGBT men and women who were facing challenges reaching out to the services that everyone else was entitled to. Because they identified as LGBT in New York City, they had more of a challenge accessing mental health and social services.
- Those individuals went to the organization that Doneley worked with to get support services and bereavement counselling.
- If you’re in need of Doneley’s services, he runs a private practice in Tribeca in New York City. He also runs an organization called the HIV Arts Network which provides supportive services to men and women living with HIV in the arts community.
- Doneley’s final message, not just to the LGBT community but to everyone, is to be real about death and dying. It’s something we will all experience, so we should all be having more conversations with each other about it.
For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.