17 July 2014

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people grow older fearing discrimination and isolation 

  • New YouGov polling for Stonewall and The Co-Operative Funeralcare reveals fears

  • Half of LGB people over 45 have no financial provision for their funeral

  • Nearly half fear discrimination when dealing with bereavement

New research published today by Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare starkly reveals that lesbian, gay and bisexual people grow older fearing discrimination and isolation.

The YouGov polling shows that nearly half (48 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual people fear discrimination when dealing with bereavement while more than half (55 per cent) 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.

One in four (24 per cent) believe they would face barriers when planning a funeral, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) worried about being treated poorly by a funeral director when arranging a funeral.

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.

Ruth Hunt, Acting Chief Executive of Stonewall, said; ‘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.’

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.’

The full report can be found here. 

ends

Notes:

• YouGov surveyed a sample of 522 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in November 2013. The survey was conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc panel of over 280,000 individuals. The responding sample is weighted to the profile of the sample definition to provide a representative sample.


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