Dead Name, an American indie documentary released at the end of last year, seeks to give a voice to parents who are skeptical of their children’s trans identities. However, with depressing predictability, video platform Vimeo removed Dead Name in January, just 34 days after it was first published on the site. Vimeo apparently does not trust audiences to make up their own minds on this issue. [Trailer below]
Undeterred, the team behind Dead Name hastily ‘re-platformed’ the film within four hours, on deadnamedocumentary.com. The film’s director, Taylor Reece, told me that the attempt to suppress the film had in fact sparked a surge in interest, driving sales ‘through the roof’.
Dead Name is a raw, intimate portrait of three parents whose children were labelled ‘trans’. A ‘dead name’ refers to the birth name that is discarded when a person begins to identify as nonbinary or as the opposite sex. Those profiled in Dead Name are not campaigners. They are relatable people struggling to make sense of a nonsensical ideology. In Reece’s words, ‘they’re simply parents who’ve dared to raise questions, who have struggled with being marginalized and being silenced’.
The first to speak is Amy, a mother whose teen daughter began identifying as a boy at 15, following a break-up with her boyfriend. She went from being a youngster interested in performing arts to becoming introverted, increasingly distressed and ‘cloistering herself in her room’. What Amy describes of her child’s behavior sounds like normal adolescent angst. Yet, after a single remote consultation with a clinic, she was prescribed testosterone. This mother will never again hear her daughter’s voice as it was before it was altered by hormones. She has not seen her daughter for years.
Then Helen tells her story. Helen is a lesbian whose ex-wife decided to socially transition their child, Jonas, when he was just four years old. The first Helen knew of this was when a letter from Jonas’ preschool informed her that ‘one of our students is now trans, and we would love for you all to celebrate and support her’. Jonas’ name was changed to Rosa on the register. Helen had to fight a legal battle for two years to prevent her son from being socially and medically transitioned, eventually winning custody. Initially, she struggled to find an attorney who would even take on the case.
Last is Bill. Bill’s son, Sean, began to identify as trans shortly after he enrolled at college. Just months later, he was dead. As a child, Sean suffered the loss of his mother from illness and his brother from a heroin overdose. He was diagnosed with cancer both as a toddler and then as an older teenager. Bill believes that Sean had been buying hormones online and that these interacted with his cancer medication, hastening his death. His request for a proper autopsy was refused.
Full story at Spiked.
Watch the Dead Name trailer: