A 15-year-old transgender boy in Australia who died by suicide was given two separate funerals after his father insisted on deadnaming his son on his headstone. According to a report in The West Australian, the boy from Perth had died in hospital on March 4 but funeral plans were put on hold until the dispute could be resolved in Family Court. The pair eventually agreed to split the boy’s ashes and bury them in separate ceremonies. The boy’s identity was not released, as it would violate local privacy laws.
The unnamed mother said her son fought hard for his gender identity, even worrying about the name he’d used at his new school for his email login, but said his father “wanted all the ashes” buried together using his son’s deadname on the headstone.
“I would agree to have (the birth name) in brackets but his (chosen name) first,” she said.
Recognizing his son’s true gender identity in death was too much for the boy’s father, though, so they went to Family Court to decide the issue. The matter was resolved when the estranged parents agreed to split the ashes and have separate funerals.
Part of the problem was that the boy’s name had not been legally changed prior to his death, meaning his birth name is the one that will appear on his death certificate. Under local laws, children can only change their names with the permission of both parents. If one objects, the matter is sent to Family Court for resolution.
Friends of the boy described him as “a good and caring friend” and an “amazing artist” who excelled at “drawing, painting, and makeup.”
The 15-year-old was diagnosed last year with borderline personality disorder, something his mother said she didn’t learn until the just before he died. She also revealed her son had recently run away from home and stopped taking his antidepressant medication. He had been referred to Perth’s outpatient Gender Diversity Service, but no further details were provided.
His mother revealed she was able to see her son just before he passed away in hospital.
“I told him I loved him,” she recalled saying, before doctors told her to go home.
If you have or are contemplating suicide, please know there is a well of support out there to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, the Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger). Trained counselors at the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, by texting START to 678678, or via the TrevorChat instant messaging service at TheTrevorProject.org/Help.