LGBT Issues and Adult Guardianship: A Comparative Perspective

Comparative Perspectives on Guardianship, Kim Dayton, ed., 2013

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-02

29 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2012 Last revised: 23 Nov 2013

See all articles by Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: November 8, 2012

Abstract

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

Knauer, Nancy J., LGBT Issues and Adult Guardianship: A Comparative Perspective (November 8, 2012). Comparative Perspectives on Guardianship, Kim Dayton, ed., 2013; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2147988

Nancy J. Knauer (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-1688 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

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