“Man Made” is a short film about transgender bodybuilders and their journey leading up to competing in Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world.
Director T Cooper, who himself is transgender, goes beyond the competition to explore the human interest story behind four men, assigned and raised female, as they prepare for the event.
“Man Made,” which was released on Nov. 7, ahead of Transgender Awareness Week, hits on how difficult it can be to go through life as a transgender individual. It follows Rese Weaver, who has battled homelessness, and Mason Caminiti as he struggles with being naked in front of his wife. Kennie Story prepares to take testosterone for the first time and faces relationship complications with his girlfriend, a lesbian. Dominic Chilko, who was adopted, seeks out his birth mother to provide some perspective into his life.
It also delves into the subjects’ precarious relationships with their families. Each family has its own way of dealing with its new dynamics. Story’s mother, a religious woman, still uses female pronouns. But, she says, “I love her. That trumps everything.”
The reality of violence that trans individuals face becomes evident during the protests outside of the competition. Their ongoing struggles of acceptance permeate throughout the film. But they can take solace in the fact that they have achieved a level of bodybuilding that has taken extreme dedication and hard work.
“Man Made” is available to buy or rent on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Vimeo. Transgender Awareness Week begins Wednesday.