“Doctors, nurses and priests are adding to the suffering of grieving gay people by not acknowledging their relationship to deceased partners, a study claims. Some are being excluded by medical staff despite identifying themselves as next of kin. They are also euphemistically referred to as a ‘friend’ or ‘special friend’ in religious ceremonies, research by nursing experts has found. This leaves the surviving partners of same-sex couples feeling ‘disenfranchised’ while the wider community views the loss they suffer as less than that of married couples, the authors say.
“‘Not having the relationship openly acknowledged at a time when the participants were in deep emotional pain exacerbated their distress and reinforced their invisibility,’ according to the study by Michelle Glackin of St Angela’s College, Sligo, and Agnes Higgins of Trinity College, Dublin. … ‘While the findings suggest the majority did not experience overt discrimination or homophobia, healthcare professionals and the wider community were complicit in reinforcing the invisibility of gay/lesbian bereaved people,’ said the study in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing.” [Times of London]