The death of this 32-year-old woman is a shocking case of just how far the LGBT community sometimes is from acceptance.
Even from those closest to them.
Jennifer Gable’s story is tragic from the start – her young age, one factor; the fact that her fatal aneurysm came without warning, and while she was happily going about her day at work, another.
But another sad moment occurred when friends and colleagues of the customer service coordinator attended her funeral.
In the open casket, Jennifer – who was born male but had lived openly and proudly as a transgender woman since 2007 – was dressed as a man.
Her long hair had been cut off, she was wearing a men’s suit, and her name Jennifer – which she’d legally changed – was replaced with her long-redundant birth name, Geoffrey.
On her father’s instruction, her written obituary used only the word ‘he’ and photographs from when she was male.
Her friends were understandably outraged. One posting on Facebook, “I am disgusted.” Another adding, “She was mutilated and disrespected by her family. To her family – shame on you.”
Joilene Topete, who was friends with Jennifer when she began transitioning to a female identity, told the Idaho Statesman: “At some point in her life, she decided that was something that would make her happy. I think it was really hard. But she stuck it out through hormonal changes, a two-month name-change process and other challenges.”
Meghan Stabler of the Human Rights Campaign also helped Jennifer through the change.
“She reached out to me a couple of years ago when she was in transition. The usual: ‘What do I need to worry about at work? Am I going to be OK? Is life going to be better? 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.”
While the funeral directors knew Jennifer was living as a woman, they were powerless to overturn her father’s wishes.