Ask A Mortician: Protecting Trans Bodies in Death


Nov 16, 2018
Your life. Your death. Your rights.

  • Funeral Homes can be places where anti-trans bigotry can have some of the most painful, negative effects
  • With reference to Jennifer Gable whom their estranged father had arranged for her to be dressed as a man with a man’s haircut which left her friend’s horrified
  • Your next of kin has all the legal power in arranging your funeral
  • It is true that funeral homes can’t go against their wishes
  • BUT funeral homes as private businesses can refuse service to bigots and ask them to find another funeral home (this may force their hand if time or money is an issue)
  • As a Trans person - you DO have ways of protecting yourself while alive
  • Step 1: Know What you Want - Ask yourself the hard questions of what you want including DNR, being kept alive when brain dead, organ donation, cremation vs burial etc, and how you want to be presented post mortem, your funeral etc
  • Step 2: Know Who you Want - Decide who you want to make sure these wishes are kept, this could be a family member, a friend, a partner etc. There could be more than one (backups are handy)
  • Step 3: Ask and Explain What you Want to your Trusted People - sit them down and tell them, there’s an example in the video of how to go about this if you are unsure
  • Don’t force the issue, remember those backups? They come in handy for this too!
  • Step 4: Get it in Writing - The two sides of this one is the person and one is the document these are country and state-specific so a little individual research is needed to find out which one
  • Some have before death wishes in one document, and another document for after death wishes, sometimes they’re together, do your research, and get all of them!
  • Step 5: Share Those Documents - Keep a copy for yourself, your trusted people must have copies, your doctor (or medical professional) must have a copy, if you end up in the hospital your hospital chart should have a copy, the original should be in a super-secure place that everyone knows about, finally, as an optional precaution keep a card in your wallet or purse that has the number of your health care agent
  • These steps are important for everyone, but especially trans people
For america: has documents and general advice state to state

- Make sure you protect your moments near or post mortem!
- Read the above or watch the video if reading isn't your thing!