Scenario 9: LGBTI Issues

“Bob and I have been living together as a gay couple for 18 years. He is starting to lose his memory and wants to put some plans in place for the future. One issue he is really worried about is whether other people will accept our relationship.”

  • People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) may face particular issues when planning ahead.
  • If a person loses capacity to make their own decisions, other people might not recognise their partner as having a right to be a substitute decision-maker (although the legislation in most States/Territories of Australia does recognise LGBTI relationships in their definition of “spouse” or “partner”).
  • Many LGBTI people may have faced prejudice and discrimination during their life and be anxious about other people having to know about their background.
  • They may fear that, if they have to go into care, their sexual orientation and behaviour will not be accepted by their care providers.
  • It is important to make clear legal documents that express how you want your wishes carried out. This can include:
    • Making a Will
    • Appointing your preferred person to manage your finances under the relevant enduring power of attorney provisions
    • Appointing the person of your choice to make lifestyle and healthcare decisions for you under the relevant enduring guardian provisions
    • Make an advance care directive that clearly outlines your care and treatment preferences
  • If a person has to go into care, it will be important to assess the atmosphere and attitude of the facility to see how accepting it is likely to be.
  • A useful guide to planning ahead for LGBTI people, which includes links to other resources is called “Respect my decisions: It’s my right”.