In the transgender sphere, calling someone by their “dead name” means referring to them by their birth name, not their newly chosen name.
Dead Name, the indie documentary, is not fiery or provocative or slick or political. Rather, it’s an intimate portrait of three parents whose lives have been shaken and forever altered because their children have declared (or have been given) a transgender identity.
In an hour-length film that weaves back and forth among mostly three stories, we learn how shocking it is for parents to hear that their children in their mid to late teens have seemingly, out of nowhere, decided to switch from female to male or from male to female.
In another story, we follow one parent’s nightmarish descent into the transgender world as her ex assigns a female gender to their very young son.
In all these stories, we find parents struggling with disbelief, loneliness, helplessness, isolation and despair. Ultimately, each one’s ultimate fear is the medicalized transition of their child — though in one story, the path to medicalization may have proven to be fatal.
Dead Name lets us in on the inner thoughts, the struggles, and the declarations to fight for children who feel lost to them. We have made Dead Name to open the conversation, humanize the subject from the perspective of parents, and give them a voice.
‘Dead Name’ unveils intimate portrait of parents raising trans-identifying kids (film review)
A stirring, 50-minute film “Dead Name, “released today on Vimeo,* profiles three families and is best described as an intimate portrait of those whose lives have been upended by an ideology that has unleashed deep confusion and division.
(In the interest of full disclosure, this Christian Post reporter appears in the film as a contributor having extensively interacted with such families.)
In the transgender sphere, calling someone by their “dead name” means referring to them by their birth name, not their newly chosen name. Their self-selected name is often the first step in the trans-identification process. Parents of transgender-identifying children are usually pained to hear that the name they chose for their child is “dead.”
Filmmaker Taylor Reece titled the documentary this way because it is emblematic of the entire spectrum of problems parents face. After a name change, a trans-identifying child starts to blot out their entire identity. After that, experimental drugs and body-altering surgeries usually follow.
“It feels like a gut-punch to parents because it’s like the child saying, ‘I’m trying to cancel my childhood,’” Reece noted in an exclusive CP interview for this review.
Reece estimates that the trans movement was underway for about a decade, yet many parents still found themselves caught off-guard.
*Dead Name was removed from Vimeo.