The University of Liverpool’s language department in conjunction with the London Basque Society hosted the short documentary film ‘Mi Pequeño Gran Samurai’ about a 16 year old trans boy who ‘tragically lost his life while on the waiting list for medical support to transition’. The occasion was the annual Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) when the whole world over gender identity activists promote stories of misery, murder and (in this case) suicide.
It’s a strange little documentary, just 20 or so minutes long, focussing heavily on Ekai’s parents with very little effort going into building up a picture of who Ekai was. The father was on the call to discuss the film afterward with the help of an interpreter and when he knew the film was coming to an end began audibly remonstrating (a bad actor in all senses). An interview with him just seven days after the suicide reveals that Ekai had some learning disabilities and that the parents were ‘tired of being pioneers’. The photo presented of the father was taken the day before the interview.
The documentary begins with footage from a news report: ‘Today we remember a 16 year old transsexual boy who took his life in Biscay. The city council has enacted three days of official mourning and the Rainbow Flag is flying at half-mast on the balcony’. Sad music plays.
We learn that from the off, Ekai was accepted by his friends, classmates and family as trans-identified. Ekai’s father apparently told her ‘I don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl, or a dog or a horse’ and promised unconditional support. Ekai came out using WhatsApp. The next morning the parents found her crying and they worried that someone had been mean to her, but they were tears of joy ‘because his classmates had accepted him really well’. The parents were filmed on a balcony in front of the Rainbow Flag and the Transgender Tricolour. The parents tell us the ‘whole town’ supported Ekai.
The only time we hear from Ekai directly is from footage taken from a news report. She’s sat on a bench with dad sat closely by her side. She’s has a small frame and a high voice. She tells the reporter: ‘The thing is that I have to tell everyone that they are wrong and I have to correct them and stuff and that’s hard for me’. Other than that the only other bits we see of Ekai is her uncomfortably dancing in front of a camera for presumably the purpose of social media sharing with friends.
The father confidently explains his own philosophy on life has arisen from the 32 years he has spent working as a funeral director, which has been, unsurprisingly, something of a meditation on death and he feels that his professional experience has helped him cope with Ekai’s suicide. Later he describes the day of Ekai’s funeral as being ‘very special to me but very hard too’.
About a third of the way in the spectre of Naizen appears. Naizen is a Basque region equivalent of Mermaids which campaigns for gender identity ideology for children, especially in schools, and appears to be parent-led.
Hasta ahora, en las escuelas, el planteamiento que se ha transmitido es que chico=pene y chica=vulva, y esto no es correcto porque no explica toda la realidad y niega la existencia de una parte de las niñas y niños.From Naizen’s homepage, http://www.naizen.eus
Just like Mermaids they produce propaganda videos with high production values (see the one on their home page – ¿Quién Soy? – you don’t have to understand any Spanish to get the basic message). One of Naizen’s strap lines is ‘there are girls with penises and boys with vulvas’. They recently made a presentation to the local government of Navarra in the Basque Region which included dragging some kids along to prove their point, the final denouement appears to be a musical performance, presumably in an attempt to impress upon the politicians the unique creativity of gender ideologists.
We see an activist speaking at a conference and then we cut to one of Ekai’s peers, another trans-identified teenage girl, who tells us that she and Ekai were put in touch with each other via Naizen and that Ekai provided her with support when she started identifying as trans. It then cuts to parents yet again being feted publicly.
Ekai’s teacher tells us that she kept one of her notebooks and says that Ekai had written some emotional stories and tells us she had once written a story about a girl who pricks her finger in a cursing, loses her father to sickness and plants a tree in his memory. Cut to Ekai’s father hugging a tree.
Things shift a gear when the parents begin to describe the psychological support Ekai received in relation to her stated desire to start steroids. The gender identity service was at Cruces Hospital, where Ekai was seen for 18 months. The parents lament that Ekai’s body was allowed to continue to develop, causing her distress with regards to periods and breast development.
The parents say that at Ekai’s first appointment she was seen by two psychologists and a psychiatrist and that lots of ‘stupid’ questions were asked – ‘she was probably going to ask his boxers’ size too’ sneers mum. One of the psychologist made notes of the discussion and the psychiatrist studied the parents’ reaction to what was being said – much to their disgust (the father describes this as ‘super violent’). They say that they were promised that Ekai only had to have one more appointment with a psychologist before she would be sent to an endocrinologist.
Ekai had the opportunity to receive treatment faster in Catalonia and the father is shown in news footage saying in Catalonia ‘you just have to send the blood test results and other stuff’ and treatment is received within a month. Ekai reportedly turned this option down, wanting instead to have treatment locally so that this might speed up the process for other kids in the Basque region.
The mum complains that Ekai suffered over heating when wearing a binder, because the material is very thick, but that the psychologist was not prepared to look at the option of surgery and encouraged Ekai to look at alternative ways of coping and must continue to have therapy and not proceed to endocrine review. The mum let the psychologist know she wasn’t happy with this response and that they would be filing a complaint as they had been promised an endocrine review straightaway.
The dad says menacingly that he would really like to talk face-to-face with the psychologist who withheld the recommendation to proceed to hormones and that he would say: ‘Do you remember my son Ekai? If you do remember him you told him this and this and that and well, he finally found the alternative: Suicide. I would just say that and I would leave calmly. We will do that someday, we will do that …. people say “gosh you don’t have to go through all that trouble, they could ruin your life”. They can’t ruin my life more than they already have ruined it’. Mum says that if only Ekai could have seen in herself with a beard and changes to her body, it might not have ended up in suicide.
Then a woman from Naizen pops up to question what is going on in society and ‘why does a boy like Ekai wake up one day and think that he can’t go on?’ and that society is ‘perverting our youth, we don’t let them be who they really are’. Another woman from Naizen asks: ‘Why did he do such a thing? Why did he? Why did he do such a hard thing? To smooth the way for people who come after. It may sound harsh, but Ekai’s life won’t go to waste’.
The friend of Ekai’s we saw previously returns to tell us that now she is an activist, giving talks in schools and now dedicates her life to the cause. Because of Ekai. We see mum giving a speech that Ekai’s contribution to the world will live on. A male activist from Naizen gives a speech at a conference, eulogising Ekai, mum and dad proudly looking on.
The film ends on an unnamed female parliamentarian sporting a Naizen T-shirt addressing an audience (presumably in parliament). Her speech is basically dedicated to the martyrs of gender identity ideology. She says: ‘We are who we are, because they were who they were, because we are who we are, the people that follow us will be who they will be.’ The documentary ends on this intellectual google followed a montage of flags, rainbows, the tree, transgender symbols, the graveyard, more flags, clapping, flag again and the parents looking into distance on a beach.
We never learn any of the details in the build up to Ekai’s suicide and I suspect that this is at least partly to do with it likely muddying the narrative that the filmmaker and parents want to present, though it may also be that, like the UK, there are laws around how suicide is reported. It feels like the documentary wants to insinuate the suicide came very quickly after the promise of immediate hormones was withdrawn, on the other hand they do specifically say she was seen for 18 months at the gender clinic, which suggests multiple appointments. It’s a deliberately confusing picture and the central idea is a political one and on the parents, and only nominally about Ekai. What’s clear though was that the parents, particularly the father, was speaking publicly about Ekai’s supposed desires during the period when she was receiving therapy. The pressure may well have become insurmountable for a 16 year old who was already confused.
The most worrying thing for me is that it is totally unbelievable that no more footage of Ekai speaking for herself was available and it is crystal clear that they don’t really want you to hear from their hero directly. Even in the very brief clip, Ekai says it’s difficult because no one sees her as male. She doesn’t say she doesn’t want to be female. She doesn’t say she really wants hormones. Ekai’s voice is somewhere buried and might never be heard.