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Resources to safeguard life choices at the End of the Rainbow

Victoria’s older LGBTI community will have resources to help with end-of-life planning with the launch of Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow: A guide to help LGBTI people in Victoria plan an end-of-life of their choice on Wednesday (21 March).

Created in partnership by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria and Transgender Victoria (TGV), with research done by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), the Minister for Housing, Disability & Ageing, Mental Health Equality and Creative Industries, the Honourable Martin Foley will launch the resource at Allens lawyers in Melbourne.

COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held said the concerns of ageing people around planning for future medical needs, financial and estate planning, and funeral and burial wishes are similar for the LGBTI community, only their partner or family of choice are often not included in decisions being made.

She said research for the project found that if you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Gender Diverse or Intersex, the law may provide some automatic protections for your partner if they survive you or if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. However, most LGBTI people may need to go the extra mile to make sure their partner or family of choice is not sidelined.

“This project surveyed older people (aged 55 years and over) who identify as LGBTI to collect information about current practices in relation to end of life care and planning. Many LGBTI people have negative experiences in their interactions with lawyers, in healthcare settings and with other service providers and as a result do not access appropriate care and services, nor have safeguards in place to protect their choices,” Ms Held said. “These resources aim to support those processes.”

Ms Held shared a case study example of Gavin and Richard,* who were together for nine years when Richard was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Richard’s family was happy for Gavin to take on the physical care of his partner but wrote to the guardianship tribunal to oppose Gavin’s application to be Richard’s guardian.

Gavin stated: “She wrote to the tribunal to oppose my – not my health and welfare guardianship, she’s quite happy for me to look after him – but the financial bit … In her evidence she said ‘I’m only grateful that my children are of an appropriate sexual orientation’. I picked up on that, it is a bit homophobic.

“I find it very, very stressful writing my subsequent response to the tribunal…it was stressful and until I sent it off…it was constantly on my mind.”

Ms Held said the resource offers some tips on finding safe professionals; and on how to ensure

your relationships, your partner and your family of choice are respected; and that your end of life is exactly as you would like.

Supported by funding from the Gay and Lesbian Health Foundation of Australia and the Sidney Myer Fund, the Safeguarding the Rainbow resource will support the LGBTI community to: protect family, friends and assets; prevent disputes between family and friends; find supportive and safe professionals; prepare for an appointment with professional advisors such as lawyers and financial experts and prepare for discussions about what they want with a partner, family and friends.

“We hope this resource helps them understand what they need to do and how, so they can plan an end of life that is their choice.”

* NB the case study of Gavin and Richard comes from: Crameri, P, Barrett, C, Lambourne, S, & Latham, J R (2015) from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

For media comment contact:

COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held on 0450 785437 or

Transgender Victoria’s Sally Goldner on 0407 946242. 

To register your media attendance at this event please email avidyasagar@cotavic.org.au

Media information for launch event:

Venue:  Allens, Level 37/101 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Date:   21 March 2018

Time:   Noon-1.30pm, formalities start at noon

Catering: Allens will provide a light lunch

The booklet will be available in hard copy following the launch or follow the link to download a digital version of the Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow: A guide to help LGBTI people in Victoria plan an end-of-life of their choice

For more information contact:
Victoria avidyasagar@cotavic.org.au; Brenda Appleton of Transgender Victoria brenda.e.appleton@gmail.com or Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria sally@transgendervictoria.com

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