Queer Grief: A Conversation with Queer Death Doula, Jamie ThrowerJun 25, 2023
We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Jamie Thrower, a Queer Death Doula, creator of the Queer Grief Club, and End of Life Educator, in an Instagram Live interview with Grieve Leave founder, Rebecca Feinglos. Jamie's insights shed light on challenges faced by the queer community in navigating grief and accessing inclusive resources. Their words resonated deeply with us, reminding us of the importance of fostering a space where everyone's grief is acknowledged and supported.
You can watch the full interview HERE and read our key takeaways from our interview, highlighting the need for equitable support, recognition, and community in queer grief experiences, below.
Inclusive Resources: Breaking Barriers to Support
"Not everyone grieves in the same equitable way or has the access to resources in the same way. And so I've found, both in my own personal experience and in working with other people in my community, that it's not just that some of our grief experiences are different, but our ability to access resources and to get accurate and inclusive support is something that's a huge barrier for queer folks."
Jamie's words illuminate a crucial aspect often overlooked in grief support: inclusivity. Grief experiences are as diverse as the individuals who go through them, and it is vital that resources and support systems reflect this diversity. Traditional grief support groups can inadvertently exclude queer individuals (maybe a group hosted in a religious setting doesn’t feel safe for someone, for example), leaving them hesitant to seek help or share their unique stories. Recognizing this disparity, we must strive to create safe and inclusive spaces where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.
Collective Grief in the Queer Community
"There's the enormous grief of just our community collectively. Watching…these anti trans bills, watching our people get killed every year, even just for purely existing...It becomes this bigger grief experience of just being in a queer body that also deserves its own space and recognition."
Queer individuals can face an additional layer of grief stemming from systemic discrimination, violence, and the collective pain of witnessing ongoing injustices. While Pride Month can be a time of celebration, it is also an opportunity to acknowledge the struggles and grief that persist. Balancing the need for both celebration and remembrance is crucial. We must hold space for this collective grief, amplifying voices and advocating for change.
The Power of Community: Restoring Humanity to Death and Dying
"When you're with community, with other people who are saying, 'I've got you, we can get through this together. I'm going to be with you in this,' you're bringing in the community, the humanity, back into death and dying as it was always supposed to be."
Jamie emphasizes the transformative power of community in the grieving process– something we also believe here at Grieve Leave. Coming together with compassion, empathy, and understanding are necessary to restore the human connection that is essential in navigating grief. Grief is SO human– , so let’s treat it that way.
Our conversation with Jamie Thrower illuminated the need for more inclusivity and support for queer individuals who are grieving. We must strive to break down barriers, providing equitable access to resources that acknowledge diverse grief experiences. Recognizing and holding space for collective grief within the queer community and building strong, compassionate communities that uplift one another are pivotal in restoring the humanity of the grieving process.
Grieve on, friends.
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