Friends of a trans woman from Idaho say they are appalled at the disrespect shown to her by members of her family after she died suddenly on Oct. 9 on the job at age 32, apparently due to an aneurysm. They say they arrived to the funeral to find her hair cut, in a suit, and displayed in an open casket as if she were a man.
Here at ROYGBIV we cover a lot of such horrible revisionist behavior from family, or the authorities, or the media (who by this point should know better). The disrespect trans people deal with if their status is known continues on in death, and if those with power of attorney/next of kin status are not supportive, they can just up and rewrite someone's personal history. It's a fear that trans people shouldn't have to deal with, the fear of having their true personhood erased.
And this is what happened to Jennifer Gable, according to her friends and reporting by the Miami Herald. Stacy Dee Hudson wrote on Facebook of the travesty:
I am disgusted. A great and dear friend's mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as (editor note: name redacted, because seriously, it wasn't her name) when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.
Meghan Stabler, a board member of Human Rights Campaign and member of HRC's National Business Council spoke with the Miami Herald about the way in which Gable's identity had been erased, and how the circumstances of her death "stresses the importance of having a will."
No mention of the woman she knew she was and had lived as for several years. Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father perceived her to be...She had done what she needed to do legally to be seen as her authentic self. Her father erased her identity either though ignorance or arrogance.
After this, I've started the process of assigning power of attorney and executor of my last will and testament to a trusted friend. Seems to me, that a fate worse than death is being eternally disrespected after it happens.
It's unfortunate the Miami Herald found it necessary (it's not!) to include the name Jennifer was assigned at birth, and which she had legally repudiated as not her own. There is no reason for that name to be published, and there was no reason for the death certificate to include any other name but her legal one (because, seriously, what the fuck, funeral home?).
Image via Jennifer Gable/FaceBook.