Man Made is one hell of a documentary following the lives and stories of four of the ten trans men competing at the Trans FitCon bodybuilding competition in Atlanta, Georgia. With a clear time frame and expectation, a framework is set by Director T Cooper with an assist in writing from Allison Glock-Cooper that allows us a glimpse into a world few even stop to consider.
We meet Mason Caminiti, Dominic Chilko, Kennie Story, and Rese Weaver, each in various stages of transition and competitive skill. We meet their partners and learn how this rather complicated issue of gender and orientation affected their respective relationships. We meet their families, their friends, and those who witnessed their loved one in their journeys in becoming their authentic selves with reactions ranging from effusive embrace to rejection. Most importantly, we witness the human spirit and its leaning towards kindness and love.
“…their journeys in becoming their authentic selves with reactions ranging from effusive embrace to rejection.”
Mason, for instance, dated his lesbian girlfriend as a woman prior to transition only to reconnect with her three years later, cementing a seemingly unbreakable bond regardless of gender or orientation. Then there is Rese, who was thrown out of his home after coming out, and is raising a son that still calls him “mommy.” Poking around from shelter to shelter, he is told that there is no place for him as they don’t really know where to put him. With Kenny, there is a struggle as his female lesbian girlfriend begins to worry that their connection will disappear once Kenny begins taking testosterone injections. Then lastly, there is Dominic, who during the course of the doc, has breast removal surgery and locates his birth mother.
"…connection, gender, and authenticity play key roles in each thread..."