Davina Anne Gabriel Background | Davina Anne Gabriel Memorial | Letter to Lesbian Connection | 1993 Press Release
If you are reading or hearing this, it means that I am dead. I want to thank you all for being my friends, and to say that I appreciate having all of you as friends in my life. I greatly regret any sorrow or distress this may cause to you. All of you have truly made my life richer, and I value having had you in my life. I hope that I have in some way enriched your lives too, and that I have been a good friend to you. Please forgive me for any wrong I may have done to any of you, or for ever having offended you or hurt your feelings. I hereby forgive all wrongs done to me during my lifetime, regardless of their severity, as I wish to take no ill will toward anyone with me into the next life.
I hope that you may all remember my friendship fondly. It is important to me how you remember me, and that is why I am writing now. Please do not remember me for any of my activism on behalf of transgender causes. If that is what I am most remembered for, then I will consider my life to have been wasted. I refute and repudiate all of that now, as I no longer believe in any of it. The fact is that I utterly despise everything about being a transsexual, and I consider having been one to be a curse on my llife that has brought nothing but pain and misery into it, and prevented me from realizing my full potential as a human being. If I could do it all over again, I would not do it. I curse the day that I ever decided to have sex reassignment sursery, and consider it to be the worst mistake I ever made in my life. But most of all, I curse the social factors which forced me to do this, and deceived me into believing that it was something that was necessary. Rather than alleviating the tremendous pain and suffering that I was already feeling, all that it has done is to magnify that pain and suffering by a hundred-fold. And that is not merely because of any kind of discrimination or ill treatment that I have received as a result of it. It is because simply being a transsexual has prevented me from living a truly fulfilling life, by causing me to unnecessarily direct tremendous amounts of time, energy, emotion , and resources into something that was totally unnecessary and did nothing to make my life better but instead caused it to be worse in every way. Furthermore, I have come to the realization that transsexualism is a delusion, a psychological disorder, and a form of self-hatred. Rather than opening up new possibilities for me, it has constricted my life at every stage and in every way.
I say this because I have come to the realization that all of the causes of gender dysphoria are sociological in nature, and not biological. That means I no longer believe that anyone is in the “wrong body,” or is the “wrong sex.” The body into which nature places persons, and the sex it gives to them is always the right one. All feelings of being in the “wrong body” or being the “wrong sex” are caused by sociological factors, specifically the way in which sex and sexuality are socially constructed in this society. It is only because people internalize those social constructions that they experience conflict between their minds and bodies. The fact is that there are no internal qualities, traits, characteristics, or modes of feeling or thinking that are intrinsically antithetical to being either male or female; it is only society itself which causes people to feel that there are. No one truly needs to change sex. Everyone is already in the right body, and is the right sex. The belief that one is in the “wrong body” or is the “wrong sex” is a delusion. Unfortunately for me, that is something that I came to realize too late. If there were one thing in my life that I could go back and change, it would be my decision to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. I consider that decision to be nothing other than an albatross around my neck. I hope that someday the human race will be more enlightened, and will come to the realization that no one is in the wrong body; no one is the wrong sex; or believe that they need to change their sex in order to be their “real selves;” and that the curse of gender dysphoria ceases to exist.
I also regret all of my previous activism on behalf of transgender causes, because I regret doing anything that might have encouraged anyone to follow in the same mistaken path that I have taken. Transgender persons are deluding themselves into believing they are empowering themselves by making it easier for them to change their sex, or by de-stigmatizing gender dysphoria. The fact is that gender dysphoria is the most extreme form of being uncomfortable in one’s own skin; and a profound date of dis-ease; and is based on an assumption of mind/body dualism that is not supported by either science or philosophy. Moreover, it is a form of self-hatred, because it is a hatred of one’s natural biological sex, which is never in any kind of intrinsic conflict with any internal trait, or mode of thinking or feeling. In every other instance, hatred of an intrinsic and natural part of oneself is recognized as a form of self-hatred, but when it comes to hatred of one’s own natural, biological sex, we’ve come to be convinced that this is not a form of self-hatred. But, it is; and it is also a psychological disorder, and a character defect that should be treated by psychological means. Transgender persons will only empower themselves by coming to understand the sociological forces which have caused them to hate their own natural biological sex, and to experience gender dysphoria; and begin to work to change the society that has caused them to feel this internal conflict.
Remember me instead for those things of which I am proud. Remember me as an intellectual, a scholar, and a bohemian. Remember me for my intellectual accomplishments, the fact that I was a doctoral student, and that I was very close to earning my Ph.D. Remember me for my passion for learning, and for my intellectual integrity. Remember me for the complexity of my thinking,, and that I was able to perceive and appreciate subtlety and nuance. Remember me for my vast knowledge of a great variety of subjects, including sociology, psychology, history, religion, literature, art, philosophy, theology, popular music, and popular culture. Remember me for my passionate love of music, art, and literature. Remember me for my love of Dostoevsky, whom I began reading at the age of fourteen. Remember me as someone who loved Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Burns, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Simone de Beauvoir, William Blake, and a great many other authors and poets. Remember me as someone who loved to read difficult, dense academic material because I appreciated the challenge.
Remember me for being an individual and a non-conformist. Remember me for my passionate love of the Beatles,, for still being a Beatlemaniac for over 50 years, for my vast knowledge of them; and for my massive collection of Beatles memorabilia. Remember me for organizing a candlelight march and commemorative service for John Lennon on the first anniversary of his death. Remember me for being a hippie since the age of fourteen, and for remaining true to my hippie ideals for all that time, even if some of my beliefs have moderated during that time. Remember me for my love of the counterculture of the 1960s; for my advocacy of psychedelic drugs; and for my love of smoking marijuana. Remember me for my love of nature, and for my passionate interest in mysticism. Remember me as someone who lived things that are unusual, exotic, and bizarre. Remember me for disdaining that which is ordinary, normal, boring, or conformist. Remember me as someone who loved animals, especially cats, and more especially black cats.
Remember me for my passionate dedication to social causes, and that I never followed any ideological party line, even those devised by causes which I support in principle. Remember me for my dedication to second-wave feminism, and for speaking out against the watered-down, dumbed-down version of feminism that calls itself “third wave.” Remember me for my hatred of all of the things that oppress women, such as pornography, prostitution, hypersexualization, sexual objectification, and gender roles. Remember me for openly being a neo-pagan at a Christian seminary for four years, and for challenging every assertion of Christian primacy, or vilification of pagans that I encountered during that time. Remember me for my dedication to Unitarian Universalism and to religious pluralism.
Remember me for being someone who did not suffer fools gladly; who detested all forms of pretentiousness, arrogance, hypocrisy, superficiality, shallowness, phoniness, and dilettantism. Remember me as someone who always strived for excellence in everything that I did,, and who believed that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Remember me for my hatred of football, and all of the vulgar things that corrupt our society, and lower the quality of life for us all, and for openly expressing that hatred regardless of the consequences. Remember me for judging the truth or falsity of any matter on its own individual merits, and not on whether or not it was consistent with some ideology or party line. Remember me for my willingness to change my beliefs when I have found them to be in error, and for my willingness to admit that I was wrong, even when it has challenged something that I had believed very passionately. Remember me for my imagination, my creativity, my individuality, and my courage to speak my mind, even when it has brought vilification down upon me. Remember me as someone who tried to live as passionately as possible, and as someone who stood up for what she believed in. Remember me as someone who endured a tremendous amount of adversity throughout my life, but who struggled valiantly against all of those circumstances which have oppressed me, and prevented me from achieving my full potential. Remember me as someone who dedicated her life to living it on her own terms, or to die in the process. But, most of all, remember me as someone who never gave up my search for truth or accepted a comfortable illusion instead of truth.
Davina Anne Gabriel
4 January 2016
Note from XX Amazons: We have changed the order of this letter. We made no additions or subtractions. Here is how the first four paragraphs appeared as Davina wrote them on January 4, 2016:
Instructions for the disposal of my body, and other matters, following my death.
In the event of my death, I wish my body to be cremated; that the remains be deposited into the bio-degradable urn created by the Bios corporation, which I have specifically purchased for this purpose, along with three fresh acorns; to be obtained from a nursery immediately prior to burial to insure viability; and that this urn be buried somewhere in Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas. This urn is located on the top shelf of one of the book shelves in my office. If any of my organs are transplantable, I hereby give full permission for them to be so.
In regard to my cats, I wish that the custody of my cats Gomez and Fester be temporarily transferred to my friend, Kimi Elizabeth Yokoyama, until my niece Staci Hughes, is able to take custody of them. She can be contacted through Facebook.
Finally, I request that any memorial service for me be conducted at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Kansas City, and that a playlist of songs which I have created for this purpose be played at that service. This playlist is contained on the CD which I placed in this envelope.
In addition, I wish that the following statement be read at any memorial service that may be conducted for me. I also wish that this text be copied and posted to my Facebook page. My user name for my computer is…, and my password is…. A copy of this text can be found on my computer, with the file name “In the Event of My Death”.