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Digital Legacy in the LGBTQ World

Pride has passed, and we hope you had fun! 😀 This time, we are delving into a “somewhat” more serious topic. As part of the rainbow community, we want to address an important issue. It’s probably one of the few matters that truly concern all of us.

In customer support, we receive 1-2 sad messages weekly from users about the passing of friends. The request to take down profiles is often made. From a distance, it’s difficult for us to verify that. What we do instead is temporarily deactivate the profile mentioned and inquire informally if the person in question is still with us. If no one responds, the profile is deleted after a month.

Sven, our Head of Community, says: “It’s not an easy task for our support team. However, there have been no false reports so far. Many thanks!”

Occasionally, it also happens that someone is entitled to inherit and wants to take over the digital legacy. Since sexual content is a part of ROMEO, we assume that very private chats and images are involved. Therefore, we don’t grant access to the profile. Instead, we send a list of stored friends and non-intimate pictures. This approach has proven to be effective, as it’s mostly about preserving memories and reaching out to friends on ROMEO.

Tips from an expert

We talked to Felix Just from Agavio, a new queer startup from Berlin. Agavio has recently started offering professional services for Advance Care and Estate Planning.

How did the company come into existence?

One of our founders, Olaf Alp, was engaged with the topic of social media legacies. What happens to my accounts when I’m no longer here?

Is a company needed for that?

Our service doesn’t just concern digital legacies; it encompasses all aspects of estate planning. The challenge lies in often not knowing what decisions to make. Here, we provide assistance and guide our customers through all the necessary steps.

What makes the connection to queerness so special?

For one, there are usually no biological heirs. And even more importantly: since we’re openly gay, our customers find it much easier to discuss sensitive questions.

Do you have tips for our users?

Everyone can prepare personally. It’s best to talk to a trusted person about it. Then, put instructions and access details for ROMEO into an envelope. Hide this well and truly trust the person!

Meet Dirk!

You might know Dirk as our ray of sunshine from reception, from our social media channels. He is currently training to become a funeral director targeting the queer community.

Dirk van Baren is our Facility Coordinator at ROMEO

This was a perfect opportunity to ask Dirk about his motivation to pursue this field, and why he thinks it’s more important now than ever to have queer-friendly funeral directors in the world:

Queer and trans people are, well, people. So eventually, we’ll die. Our culture and language are entering the mainstream fast, and not everyone finds it very easy to keep up. As a queer and non-binary funeral director, it’s easy for me to, say, make sure someone’s pronouns are respected or that a trans guy’s body isn’t mistaken for a woman’s, because some parts of his anatomy might not match his gender identity. In the future, we’ll see more and more queer and trans people, so they’ll need more funerals as well. I consider it my mission to make sure those are going to be worthy of the deceased and match their energy in peace and/or power.

What happens to your profile in the worst case?

If everything goes wrong, there’s still a final safeguard. If someone doesn’t log in, we deactivate the profile after 3 months and delete it permanently after a year. So, you’re not condemned to search for 🍆 as an online ghost for eternity. 👻