LGBT Issues and Adult Guardianship: A Comparative Perspective
Comparative Perspectives on Guardianship, Kim Dayton, ed., 2013
29 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2012 Last revised: 23 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 8, 2012
Guardianship reform has largely overlooked issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, however, present a distinct set of needs and concerns due to certain unique demographic characteristics, the evolving nature of LGBT civil rights, and the stubborn persistence of anti-LGBT bias and prejudice. This chapter explores these LGBT-specific concerns from a comparative perspective and identifies the various ways that seemingly neutral guardianship laws can work to silence LGBT identities and place LGBT families at risk. It concludes that guardianship systems should incorporate safeguards that expressly acknowledge the importance of sexual orientation and gender identity. Respect for a ward’s sexual orientation and gender identity is essential to the concepts of dignity and self-determination that have served as the guiding principles of guardianship reform. In the absence of appropriate safeguards, even guardianship reform driven by a “person-centered philosophy” will ultimately fall short and fail to protect the interests of LGBT individuals and LGBT families.
Keywords: adult guardianship, guardianship, comparative guardianship law, LGBT, gay, lesbian, transgender, incapacity, capacity, power of attorney, substituted judgment, supported decision making, best interests, public guardian, cultural competency training, LGBT estate planning
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation