Two separate funerals were held for a 15-year-old transgender boy, who died by suicide in Perth, Australia, after his estranged parents could not agree on funeral arrangements, including the name to use on his headstone.
In death there is grief, pain, and loss, especially on the family members that are left to accept that a loved one is gone forever. Death in a family most of the time brings unity in memory of the dearly departed, but it is also not uncommon for death to create rift and friction among family members.
The parents of the teen, whose name cannot be revealed for legal reasons, brought the matter to the Family Court to settle the dispute after the father reportedly wanted his son’s “dead name”—the name a transgender person was given at birth prior to transitioning—on his headstone.
But what the mother wanted to use on the headstone to remember him was the name that her son adopted after transitioning, as her son “would hate” to have the wrong name on his final resting place. She also told The West Australian that she would have taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court had it not been settled.
The mother added that her son fought for his identity and became worried when he started in a new school about which name would be used for his e-mail login.
Both parents have since agreed to divide their son’s ashes and conducted two separate funerals for their son. They also had two separate memorial plaques made bearing their son’s two different names that he went by.
However, their son’s death certificate will carry the name assigned at birth because it had not been legally changed before he died.
The Western Australia law states that minors cannot change their names without the consent of both parents. If one parent does not consent, the matter will be taken to the Family Court.
The teen, who was reportedly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder when he was 14 years old, died in the hospital following days of attempting to take his life.
Before his death, he was referred to the Gender Diversity Service, Perth’s outpatient service for children experiencing gender diversity issues. According to reports, he had run away from home and stopped taking his antidepressant medication.
In a report by Perth Now, the teen’s mother held the memorial service for her son, where family and friends attended to pay their respects.