International Pride Month and Grief - what do they have in common?
Posted on 18th June 2019 at 11:39
As people around the world celebrate International Pride Month, it’s a great opportunity to shed light on some of the issues facing the LGBTQ community in terms of grief and loss.
From the very beginning, many people report the loss of identity that occurs when questioning their sexuality or realising that they have an identity other than the heterosexual one that is usually expected by their parents and the society at large. Furthermore, there may be a loss of hopes, dreams and expectations when realising that marriage and starting a family may be made much more challenging by regulations that do not yet support non-heterosexual couples.
This is in addition to the fear of rejection that is part of the coming-out process and the impact that this has on relationships with family and friends. Whether it be a lack of acceptance, hurtful words, or simply the mixture of emotions that comes with a big announcement, there is an incredible amount of emotional energy generated by coming out. It can be an experience that requires a great deal of emotional work both beforehand and afterwards.
Given that homosexuality is still illegal in 73 countries and many other countries are still debating the status of couples’ rights in terms of marriage, taxation, adoption and end-of-life care, it’s no wonder that many families are then faced with a number of challenging losses. Many couples essentially lose the privileges that are taken for granted by heterosexual couples, understandably resulting in anger, sadness and frustration.
Sadly, there is also risk attached to being a part of the population that is unfortunately still stigmatised. People may experience a loss of safety and security – many may not feel safe to be who they really are. There are implications for safety and wellbeing in the workplace, social situations and elsewhere.
Finally, there is still much to be done in terms of end-of-life care and bereavement support for the LGBTQ community. So many people are not given the same support or rights when it comes to end-of-life caretaking, funeral arrangements or when grieving the loss of a partner. The surprisingly common failure to recognise a couple’s committed relationship means that partners are often forced to grieve alone, are not allowed to take part in traditions or rituals and are not able to call upon outside help and support.
Of course it’s impossible to describe or capture countless unique experiences here, but we think it’s important to remember that the emotional energy we carry inside is worth acknowledging, processing and working through. So many of us are carrying pain and resentment caused by injustices, sad memories and fear throughout our lives. Taking action to relieve this pain is one of the best things you can do – for yourself and for all of your relationships.
The Grief Recovery Method is unique in recognising all conflicting feelings of grief and loss. If you'd like to know more contact the Grief Recovery office on 01234 862217 or find your nearest specialist.
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