Compassion & Choices Celebrates Pride Month
We honored our longstanding alliance with the LGBTQ+ community with events and activities throughout the month of June, and we will soon be launching the Compassion & Choices LGBTQ+ Leadership Council to fortify our efforts to address end-of-life healthcare disparities and barriers for all people.
by Mason Boudrye
July 27, 2021
Each year in June, Compassion & Choices takes the opportunity to review and enhance the efforts we have made to advance the cause of end-of-life options for LGTBQ+ people. Our Pride in a Box Toolkit showcases how the mission of Compassion & Choices is aligned with that of the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2020, the pandemic limited our ability to engage with our queer supporters and participate or host Pride events. This year, we were grateful that we began to emerge from the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and continue our work fighting for the rights of all people at the end of life as we have for decades.
We continued some of our virtual work, such as the Q&A and discussion with the filmmakers of the documentary Bob’s Choice, which profiles Bob Fuller, a pillar in the Seattle LGBTQ+ community and advocate for medical aid in dying in Washington. The event was co-sponsored by Howard Brown Health, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Prairie Pride Coalition, Uniting Pride of Champaign County, Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Center – Carbondale and the Illinois Eagle.
Compassion & Choices also memorialized advocates who died in 2020-2021. We recognize the monumental loss many people across the country felt during the pandemic and gave our supporters an opportunity to honor their loved ones as well. Participate in the memorial here.
On June 30, Compassion & Choices held an internal gathering, “Dignity Before Death: A C&C Pride Event,” that featured information about the project Not Another Second involving LGBTQ+ seniors. “Compassion & Choices provides spaces to staff, supporters and volunteers to be themselves and learn from one another,” said Alyson Lynch, senior communications associate. “This is a yearlong endeavor to ensure an inclusive environment for the queer community.”
We are also more than pleased that we were able to participate in some of our first in-person events this year in honor of Pride Month, including a collaboration with the Center for Black Equity and their 30th Annual D.C. Black Pride Awards Reception, at which information about end-of-life options and advance planning and Compassion & Choices materials will be distributed (with special acknowledgement to the Community Engagement team at Compassion & Choices for their work forging that connection). “I really do hope this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with the Center for Black Equity,” says Wendy Minor, community engagement associate.
To further our commitment to addressing the healthcare disparities and barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community, Compassion & Choices is launching an LGBTQ+ Leadership Council. Recognizing that the end of life can be more difficult for LGBTQ+ people and their families due to continued discrimination and under-representation, we aim to build partnerships with LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations to help educate and empower LGBTQ+ Americans to chart their own end-of-life care journey.
Compassion & Choices has a long-standing history with the LGBTQ+ community and is proud to continue advocating for equity and access to end-of-life options for all people. “I cannot work for an organization that does not respect my existence as a Black gay man. Thankfully, Compassion & Choices is not a place where I have ever had to hide who I am. From day one, I’ve been able to express my truth with no hesitations, and in my current role I’m committed to ensuring others feel that same freedom,” says National Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Human Resources Jonathan Patterson.
To learn more about the end-of-life options movement and our work with the LGBTQ+ community, visit CompassionandChoices.org/pride.