Although it is still rare to discover a mainstream service or organization that is clearly and openly LGBTQ-inclusive, it is, thankfully, becoming more common. I stumbled across just such a service recently, when I was reminded to update my personal information that is on file with Docubank – a service that provides safe storage and access for your advanced healthcare directives and emergency medical information. A number of years ago when my partner and I updated these documents, our wonderful lesbian lawyer recommended this service and enrolled us in it. That was before marriage was legal anywhere in the U.S., and long before the demise of DOMA (the U.S. law that blocked federal benefits for same sex couples) – so then healthcare advanced directives, wills, and such were absolutely essential to assure that our “affairs” would be treated with respect according to our wishes when the time comes that we cannot speak for ourselves. Now, of course, a few of the blocks that stand in the way have been removed, but having these documents in order well in advance remain one of the most important concerns for all LGBTQ people and their families.
So when I discovered that Docubank has specific information to help LGBTQ people and families understand and accomplish these protections, I was thrilled! Their dedicated page on the web, titled “DocuBank: The Living Will Registry for the LGBT Community” explains a wide range of services they offer in addition to “banking” your legal documents such as living will and advanced healthcare directives. They also provide guidance for such documents as hospital visitation authorization, HIPPA release, and they will store your domestic partner and/or marriage license documents.
Once your documents are stored, you carry a card and store information in your contacts so that any emergency or other healthcare personnel can access your documents at any time. There is a nominal fee to join – and I highly recommend that you consider doing so. But more important, do not delay in getting these documents in order, and encourage any of your LGBTQ friends and relatives to do the same. These are critical matters for all of us as individuals. they are also important for our community, and contribute to making our community, our families and our lives visible in the world at large!
Visit the HRC information page for more information about protecting your healtcare decision-making rights.