Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

First Advisor

Jena Curtis


Without someone else being chosen to handle end of life care decisions and funeral arrangements, these decisions go to the person’s legal next of kin. Many people are not close with their next of kin, such as their parents, siblings, or children. Spouses are also legal next of kin. There are many reasons not to want your next of kin making these important decisions, one of which may be that you are not close with or do not trust that person.

For many transgender people, bad relationships with their families can mean violence and transphobia, even after death. Transgender people who may not have spoken to their family in years can suddenly be forced under the power of their next of kin when they cannot make decisions for themselves. This can mean being misgendered, having hair cut or changed, clothes changed, and other funeral decisions made in direct opposition to the gender of the transgender person. This can be incredibly painful for the friends and chosen family of the transgender person, who have no legal power to make these decisions, despite knowing what their loved one wanted.

If you, whether you are transgender or not, do not want your legal next of kin being the one to make your funeral and end of life decisions, you need to create an advance directive.