Facing the Storm as an LGBT Family

Here’s wishing safety to family and home for any of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy. We’re bracing for it here in Massachusetts—but I think those of you farther south will bear the brunt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has produced a suggested Basic Disaster Supplies Kit that all families should keep on hand. LGBT families, however, should pay special attention to one item on the list.

That item is a set of “important family documents” kept “in a waterproof, portable container.” FEMA gives examples of “copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records.” As an LGBT person, I include under “important family documents” my marriage license, powers of attorney, living wills, child’s birth certificate, and court order of parentage. Other LGBT families might include adoption papers or a domestic partnership or civil union registration, depending on their circumstances. Some of those items apply to non-LGBT families as well, of course—but we LGBT folks are more often asked to prove our relationships to each other, and so having the documents close at hand takes on extra importance.

With luck, you’ll be safe and dry in your home and you might as well have left these documents in a file cabinet, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Stay safe!