“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 Angelaâ€™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]