Awareness of death in the LGBT community brought to Sheffield

For the second day of dying matters week, awareness was raised for the treatment of LGBT individuals during times of death and grieving.

Today, from 11am to 4pm, a Death Café was held at the Theatre Delicatessen at the Moor in Sheffield.

The first death cafe took place on 8 May, aiming to break the taboos surrounding talking about death.

Today the main focus was on those in the LGBT community.

Kath Housley, 63, chair of LGBT Sheffield, stated: “People who have been in the closet for years haven’t got a family, they’ve lost a partner, so who’s going to do the funeral?”

Ms Housley explained that one of their first missions was to help raise awareness of  how LGBT people are being treated differently during their final days of life, which she discovered in a report by the Marie Curie Trust.

Robert Bond, 59, a trustee of LGBT Sheffield, explained a story where his mother was in a hospice at the same time his cousin’s partner was in a hospice. They both received the same medical treatment, whereas his mother got more psychological support than his cousin’s lover.

Mr Bond, stated: “When you’re gay, you are medically being looked after the same as a straight person but psychologically you are not being looked after in the same way. The well-being of yourself as an individual is not prioritised.”

Elsewhere in the Death Café, awareness of the taboo of death in general was being raised.

Ian Eady, Bereavement services manager at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, stated: “People need to be aware of what might happen to loved ones after they die and what they would want to happen to them.”

The café allowed like-minded individuals to discuss the taboo subject with experts and discuss their fears.

Aisling Kerlings, 22, film student at Sheffield Hallam, came along to the death café with no idea what to expect.

She stated: “After Ian had explained, I feel like I’m more inclined to talk about it openly with my family, especially in relation to my grandparents.”

Maisie

I’m Maisie, a 19 year old Journalism Student at the University of Sheffield.

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