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 LGBTQ+ people and their families due to continued discrimination and under-representation of LGBTQ+ relationships. That’s why we create resources and conduct outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.

Storytelling 

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. To read some of them, click here

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/advance-directives/
  • Hospital Visitation Form

Pride in a Box

Pride in a Box is a time-honored tradition at Compassion & Choices. Starting in June, we distribute materials across the country to our supporters so that they can participate in Pride events in their communities. 

New Yorkers celebrate Pride in 2019

Community Collaboration 

Compassion & Choices has secured the endorsement of SAGE, the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to LGBT elders.

  • “After facing a lifetime of stigma and discrimination, LGBT older people know all too well the importance of personal autonomy and the need to be able to make personal decisions, guided by their own moral compass, not that of others, within our LGBT community, many elders are haunted by the memory of loved ones suffering from HIV/AIDS, for whom aid-in-dying became all the more important … LGBT and end-of-life options movements are deeply intertwined.”

Compassion & Choices was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) in 2019 for our leadership in passing the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. GLAA is the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.

Donna Smith, D.C. and Maryland campaign director for Compassion & Choices, and Stella Dawson Klein, Compassion & Choices D.C. volunteer advocate