Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Man Made


Trans filmmaker T Cooper’s new documentary follows four men as they prepare to compete in Trans Fit Con the only bodybuilding competition in the US  specifically for the trans community.  The contest rules simply state that everyone must identify as trans and as such they allow contestants to enter regardless at what point they are of their physically transitioning.

Of the four, Mason is probably the one who takes the bodybuilding the most serious and follows a strict diet regime that would test the patience of a saint let alone his very supportive wife.    The two had dated sometime time ago and then broke up as Mason started his transitioning but reunited some years later when they decided that they couldn’t live apart, even though Mason has still never been naked in front of his wife.

When they started filming Atlanta native Rese was having a very hard time.  He was currently homeless having been kicked out by his mother who was still looking after his 5-year-old son. Ast the documentary progresses he meets and marries a new partner. who is also trans, and they move to Baltimore to start a new life together.  

Whereas Mason had been the one who brought up the overwhelming thoughts of suicide that he, like other people wanting to transition, had felt, it was Rese who raised the topic of how many trans women get murdered when the reveal their identities to cis men.

Dominic, a rapper from St Paul,  has a fiancé Thea, and at the start of filming and with her support, he is about to undergo a double mastectomy.  Part of his journey to identify to his true self is to also track down his biological mother who had given him up for adoption and who can reveal his true ethnicity at last.  Of all the men, Dominic is the one who is most relaxed at gaining a real body-builder physique and pokes fun at the stomach he cannot quite shed.

Then there is Kennie who is just about to start his transitioning journey.  DJ his lesbian girlfriend is fully supportive of his choices but feels that this will probably signal the end of their relationship  As the testosterone shots start taking effect, It increases Kennie’s sex drive at the same time DJ is less attractive to him as his body physically changes.

The actual competition in Atlanta is a good-natured event and Cooper also gives brief bios of the other 8 or so men taking part. He also light-hearted discusses issues they all face like the decision to wear a packer (a fake penis) to pad the front of their very tiny speedos out.

The men that participate express the sheer relief that finally, their bodies are at last matching their true gender but the fact that they going one step further to be ultra-masculine as bodybuilders is not just for their own satisfaction, but so that society really see them as who they really are.

Cooper’s intriguing doc. that picked up an Award at the Atlanta Film Festival in many ways is more about how transitioning can affect the man’s personal relationships and whether they cannot only survive the ‘journey’ but also if they can adjust sufficiently to match both their needs.


Posted by queerguru  at  08:15


Genres:  documentary, trans

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