Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Diss’ed in Death

The Urban Dictionary defines “Dis” as, disrespect some one
When we die we have no control over our body or any announcements, we are at the mercy of our next of kin.

This is from the website “The Order of the Good Death”

Trans folk may settle into loving communities of friends and partners that are not their blood relatives. What they may be unaware of is that upon their death, all power over their body is turned over to their legal next of kin, possibly an unsympathetic parent or sibling. Tragedies of misgendering can occur postmortem, compounding the tragedy of the death. Christine Colby explores what the trans community can do to protect themselves at death.

Jennifer Gable died in October 2014 at the age of 32, from an unexpected aneurysm. When her friends attended her funeral, they were outraged to see that she was displayed in the casket wearing a man’s suit, no makeup, and her hair had been cut. At no point during the service was her female identity even mentioned.
The funeral director was quoted in the media saying that he’d done what he was legally bound to do, and was honoring the wishes of the next of kin, despite Gable’s legal name change. And he was right. Funeral arrangements fell to her father, from whom she was estranged.
The article goes on to say,
In October 2015, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh introduced The Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2015 in Washington D. C. If passed, this would serve the same purpose for the D.C. trans community as California’s Respect After Death Act and, in addition, protects the person filling out the death certificate for any liability for how the decedent’s sex is recorded.
Okay, here in Connecticut when we were working to pass the law on birth certificates this was one of the questions that was brought up by the coalition; do we need to add something to the bill to make sure the death certificate reflects the gender on the birth certificate? The answer that came back from our lawyers was no, the gender on the death certificate should reflect the gender on the birth certificate. Notice the lawyer talk “should reflect,” they couldn’t give a definitive answer until an actual case is resolved in the courts.

The article goes on to say,
Devon, a Long Island transman, said he’s not aware of anything he could do, aside from rely on his sister and partner to do the right thing.

Despite not having taken any steps, Devon is passionate about the topic, adding, “For someone who is trans, their life experience is that of the trans experience, which is pivotal to who they are. People are being killed because they are trans; people are killing themselves because they are trans. To erase who someone is by not acknowledging that they are trans is erasing who they are, what roads they’ve traveled. Silencing their presence is an act of violence not only on the individual, but on the community as a whole.”
One available legal document is an advance directive, which is actually two main documents: a living will, which contains instructions about medical care, and a medical power of attorney (or health-care proxy) in which you can appoint a person to make medical decisions upon your behalf.
In death, we are at the mercy of our next of kin.

Consider this from…
Who has the legal right to make decisions about your funeral?

In more than half the states, there is a statutory obligation for survivors to honor the written wishes of the deceased, to follow your personal preference. In a few states, your wishes may be over-turned in the case of cremation, however. Even if there is no personal preference law in your state (blank entry below), it is better to have your wishes in writing than not at all. Courts routinely support all but the most outrageous wishes.

Perhaps the most useful laws are those permitting you to name a designated agent for body disposition. If you are estranged from next-of-kin or were never married to your significant other, the designated agent law allows you to name someone other than a legal spouse or relative to carry out your wishes. Or perhaps one of your children is a little more inclined to follow your wishes than the others.
Here in Connecticut the article says,
Connecticut— As of October 1, 2005, Connecticut citizens have the right to declare their own wishes for the disposition of their body. This declaration will be legally binding. In addition, citizens may appoint an agent to carry out those directions. You can download the form by clicking here.
Whether this also includes listing your true gender is going to be a matter for the courts to decide, so pick those who will represents you after death carefully.

Update 8:00 AM 9/14/17

This was posted on the Facebook; a trans boy was ordered by the courts to live with his father who forced to live as a girl and he committed suicide.

The obituary said,
UTICA – Elijah DePue, age 14, of Utica, passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at his home.

Funeral services will be held at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Gladfelter Funeral Home with Reverend Duane Kaufman officiating.  Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the funeral home.

Elijah was born October 4, 2002 in Sasebo, Japan, the son of Zachariah and Lacy (Burnside) DePue.  He is survived by his father, Zachariah (Rebecca) DePue of Utica; his mother, Lacy DePue of Wisconsin; his siblings, Rachyl Newell, Olivia DePue, and Ethan DePue; his grandparents, Dean and Julie DePue of Maryland, Millie and Richard Kasal of Arizona, and Dave and Alice Cheli of Ottawa; his uncles, Jeremiah and Jodiah DePue and Dan Rice; as well as many cousins.  He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Emily Burnside.

Elijah was a freshman at Ottawa Township High School.  He enjoyed reading Animé books, playing video games, and being outside.  He also enjoyed solving the Rubic’s cube.  Elijah was a member of the Academic Bowl, in which he excelled.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Waltham Elementary School Academic Team.

To share a memory or light a candle, please visit or Gladfelter Funeral Home on Facebook.
Rebecca Jones wrote this on WPATH Facebook page…

(Please note - Pronouns/name being used are as Elijah identified up to and at the time of his death - he had not transitioned socially - I am respecting Elijah and his mum by referring to him in the way he did himself)

Today my heart broke for Elijah's mum as I spoke with her about her beautiful 14 year old child who, despite her being his strongest supporter, his biggest ally, it just wasn't enough because a court-appointed psychologist decided it was in her child's best interests to not assist her to get her child the mental health assistance he so desperately needed to help him come to terms with his gender identity and to transition socially, but to place him in the custody of his father. Months later her beautiful child committed suicide believing - as had been instilled to him by others - that he was somebody who didn't deserve to live just because he was to work through his gender questioning.

His mum has said to me she doesn't need anything at all right now, but she said 'You know this is the internet maybe we could pass the details around of Elijah's Service and maybe someone will show up.' She further says 'I have a wish that everybody would come wearing heels - it would be so fitting.'

Please, please, if any of you can attend the service in support of his mum, and in tribute to Elijah, please do. Please respect his mum's privacy whilst she grieves.



No comments:

Post a Comment