Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Smith, Laurie


This study examined the ways in which queer people experience disenfranchised grief when mourning the death of a loved one who also identified as queer/LGBTQIA2S+ and whose relationship with one another existed outside of cisgender/heteronormative frameworks. Research suggests that the life experiences as LGBTQIA2S+-identified people can vary in specific ways to those of cisgender heterosexual people, and in the occurrence of death and bereavement, such circumstances can be further complicated and disenfranchised by the types of relationships the bereaved and the deceased shared. Through interviews and qualitative data analysis, this study provided supportive and informative insight into social work practice by observing and discussing the ways in which queer people can experience grief disenfranchisement and demonstrated how social workers can better support the bereaved. Queer disenfranchised grief was demonstrated in the data through insufficient support demonstrated by witnesses to the participants’ grief and inadequate understanding of the nature and significance of the participants’ relationships to the deceased. The data suggests that social workers can better intervene with bereaved queer individuals and communities by up-to-date cultural competency on the complex and life-sustaining bonds queer people form with each other, and by creating and upholding inclusive community spaces for people to express their grief in validating ways.

Included in

Social Work Commons