Older gays fear discrimination and isolation

A new YouGov poll for Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare reveals that lesbian, gay and bisexual people fear discrimination and isolation in their old age.

The survey shows that nearly half (48 per cent) of LGB people fear discrimination when dealing with bereavement, and one in ten has actually faced discrimination at a funeral or when arranging one.

Those in London and the North were most concerned about receiving poor treatment because of their sexual orientation.

More than half (55 per cent) have not made any financial provision for their funeral.

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

The poll also found that family members and religious leader were most likely to discriminate.
To address these findings Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare have created a guide for LGB people on planning for later life.

It offers advice on the law, making financial provision, such as making a will or purchasing a funeral plan, and gives tips on planning 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 Planning for Life can be found here.