LGBTQ+ Communities

Compassion & Choices is proud of our historic relationship with the LGBTQ+ community that spans decades. Many LGBTQ+ activists were early advocates for expanded end-of-life options in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic and that advocacy continues to this day.

We recognize that the end of life can be more difficult for queer and trans people and their chosen families due to continued violence and discrimination. That’s why we create resources and conduct outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.

African American Woman and Man celebrating PRIDE

Leadership Council

The Compassion & Choices LGBTQ+ Leadership Council is committed to raising awareness around the healthcare disparities and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community faces. We created the LGBTQ+ Leadership Council to build partnerships with LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations to help educate and empower LGBTQ+ people to chart their own end-of-life care journey. If you or someone you know is a perfect fit for this council, nominate them by emailing Osha at [email protected]

Pride Month Quote from Kelly Rice - C&C LGBTQ+ Council Member

LGBTQ+ Storytellers

Compassion & Choices is dedicated to sharing diverse perspectives on end-of-life options and planning. Over the years, we’ve shared many stories from LGBTQ activists and supporters.

Norma Vázquez de Houdek (L) with wife, Mary Houdek at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Resources

Our LGBTQ+ Outreach toolkit explains important aspects of Pride and end-of-life planning for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. 

  • Advance Directives and End-of-Life Planning
    • An advance healthcare directive is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. Every American adult has the right to create an advance healthcare directive, and it is the obligation of every hospital to honor these documents.
    • Without an advance healthcare directive, end-of-life care decisions are often left for spouses or close family members to determine and administer. For patients in same-sex relationships, the state in which they reside may or may not recognize their marriage or unmarried partner as fitting one of those categories, even after the Supreme Court of the United States of America recognized same-sex marriage as a constitutional right guaranteed to all Americans. Some states have possibly not yet amended statutes that address healthcare decision making in relation to same-sex marriages.
    • Access your state-specific advance directive by visiting: CompassionAndChoices.org/our-issues/advance-care-planning/
  • Hospital Visitation Form

LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning

Dive deeper into LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning and learn more about the intertwined influence Queer and Trans advocates have had on the End-of-Life Movement in the video below

If you are interested in booking a presentation/training, please email Osha at [email protected]

Osha Towers at a live event

LGBTQ+ Advance Care Planning Tookit

Compassion & Choices is proud to partner with SAGE to create a comprehensive end of life planning guide for LGBTQ+ people, by LGBTQ+ people. This tool walks through decisions around health care proxies, hospice care, how we honor life, and so much more. An excellent resource for individuals, chosen family members, and professionals working in deathcare.

Our LGBTQ+ Outreach toolkit explains important aspects of Pride and end-of-life planning for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families.
  • Access a hospital visitation form - this gives unmarried couples hospital visitation authorization for their partner. 
lgbtq advance care planning toolkit

National & Local Partners

Building strong connections within the LGBTQ+ already active and thriving communities is how we flourish and reach more people with this valuable information. Below are a few of the relationships Compassion and Choices has been able to create.

Organization More Information
Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists: A community of psychiatrists that educates and advocates on LGBTQ mental-health issues. AGLP.org
CenterLink: Community of LGBT Centers; exists to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers and to build a unified center movement. lgbtcenters.org
Equality Federation: A movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. equalityfederation.org
GLAA: Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance; GLAA is an all-volunteer, nonpartisan, nonprofit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the nation’s capital. GLAA.org
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (previously known as the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association); The world's largest and oldest association of LGBTQ healthcare professionals. The GLMA adopted a supportive stance on medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option in 2015. GLMA.org
HRC: Human Resources Campaign; A civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans HRC.org
Morehouse College has been a long-standing partner, developing a space for LGBTQ+ adults to commune together during the Thanksgiving season. Read More Here
National LGBTQ Task Force: Advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. TheTaskForce.org
NBJC: National Black Justice Coalition; The country’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of LGBTQ and same gender loving (SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ/SGL bias and stigma. nbjc.org
Newark LGBTQ Center: A volunteer-run, community-based organization committed to providing safe space, programs, and services that support the well-being of the LGBTQ community and our allies in the Newark, New Jersey area. NewarkLGBTQCenter.org
SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders. Compassion & Choices has secured the endorsement of SAGE, the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to LGBT elders. sageusa.org
Victory Fund: The only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government. VictoryFund.org

Public Education Campaigns

Compassion & Choices has raised visibility through digital ads, direct mail, print ads, and video development. This visibility expands further than solely end-of-life planning, it’s a reminder of our history, our community losses, and our moments of celebration. We will continue to uplift LGBTQ+ voices and the need for change.

Transgender Week of Awareness Graphic
World AIDS Day Graphic

Outreach

Compassion & Choices has participated in local Pride events for many years. We’ve created specific outreach materials, handed them out at tables and on floats, held workshops and overall, demonstrated PRIDE in our communities.

Compassion & Choices Booth at PRIDE event

Pride & Purpose

How can we celebrate Pride all year?

Virtual LGBTQIA+ History & Culture Trivia meeting.

Recent Blogs

Check out more stories about healthcare experiences and more from staff experiences here

Medium.com/@CompassionandChoices

Latest News

Pride 2024: What Pride and End-of-Life Options Mean to Us
June 1, 2024

Each year, Compassion & Choices commemorates Pride Month to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The end-of-life options movement is deeply rooted in the same core principles and values as the LGBTQ+ rights movement: dignity, bodily autonomy and the right to make personal healthcare decisions.

Read More
Transgender Awareness Week & Creating Trans Spaces: December 13, 2023
April 12, 2024

Transgender Awareness Week is held annually as a time of reflection that leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), also known as Trans Day of Resilience. It is a moment where the LGBTQ+ community looks back on the year, fully acknowledging the injustices that the trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive community face. Compassion &…

Read More
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