A work-in-progress collection of documentaries and fiction films/television on this topic, with links wherever possible.
What am I missing? let me know: Unmutual#0576 Have you got a free-of-charge watching link for something I've yet to locate? Message me.
KEY: 👓 streaming free online/💵 streaming for money online/🦜 streaming online whether you like it or not
I'm a big fan of transmaleresources.com, a really comprehensive list of films and television featuring us!
Meet The Girl Who Became A Man Aka A Woman Who Became A Man (1937)
Brief interview clip of historic trans man Peter Alexander, interviewed in Sydney.
👓 Short clip
What Am I? (1980)
Vintage British documentary about transgender people, including a trans man.
👓 Free from the BFI, but may be blocked outside the UK
Lou Sullivan and Dr Ira Pauly interview
Gay trans man Lou Sullivan, a historian and community leader, is interviewed by Dr. Ira Pauly about his experiences.
👓 Available on the archive, and lengthy!
Panel on Gender-Nonconforming People and AIDS (1989)
Transgender activist Lou Sullivan, therapist/sex worker Janet Taylor, and drag queen Mark Olsen appear on a panel on AIDS risks to gender-nonconforming people. They discuss their autobiographies, gender identities, experiences of sexuality in the age of AIDS, and issues related to sex work and intersex identity.
👓 at the archive
Shinjuku Boys (1995)
Hard-to-find documentary following a transmasculine subculture in Japan
🦜 On youtube (in parts)
and at the archive
Southern Comfort (2001)
Fly-on-the-wall American documentary about a trans man (and his trans community) in the final years of his life following medical neglect.
🦜 On youtube
Venus Boyz (2002)
Club Casanova, home of the legendary Drag King Night in New York, is the point of departure for an odyssey to the transgender world. It's a world where women become men - some for a night, others for a lifetime.
I suspect the politics of this film will be like absolute nails on a chalkboard for me, and invested in defining these performers as some kind of post-modern-lesbian-masculine-radicalism, overriding other narratives of transition and the diversity of performers' own voices (many of whom have since come out as trans men); but it's an interesting document regardless, of a time and place and a moment in our community and our politics. Presumably, specifically recommended for transmasculine people who relate to gender as play, performance and experimentation, who are genderqueer, who continue to understand themselves partially as lesbians or as having links to womens communities and histories, etc.
Call Me Malcom (2004)
A documentary about a 27 year-old transgender seminary student, and his struggle with faith, love and gender identity.
👓 On youtube
The Aggressives (2005)
An insightful exposé on the subculture of trans men, lesbian "butches" and their "femme" counterparts who tow the line between gender definitions. Filmed over five years in NYC during the late 90's and early 00's, the featured "Aggressives" share their dreams, secrets and deepest fears.
💵 stream on Amazon
🦜 Fragments can be found here: Pt 2 / Pt 3
Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen (2008)
In the past decade, independent cinema has seen an explosion of films that explore transgender issues. Many of those films, however, have elided issues of race in regard to trans communities of color. In light of this, still black: a portrait of black transmen is a feature-length experimental documentary that explores the lives of six black transgender men living in the United States. Through the intimate discussions of their lives as artists, students, husbands, fathers, lawyers, and teachers, the film challenges traditional notions of black masculinity, sexuality, and identity.
💵 Buy online
- it's an independent documentary, available for £5 as a download or more for a DVD.
Sexing the Transman (2011)
Porn star Buck Angel interviews trans men about their bodies and sexualities. Then they bone.
Oh heck, I don't know. I found this in a list of films with trans man directors, which I suppose this technically is; and the little interviews are interesting, it is cool to see trans men talk about this stuff - tho not as cool as it would have been in 2011, I think, when information was that much rarer. That said, the interviews are preludes to a bit of fucking which brings up a bunch of other questions: to what extent are these interviews just there as foreplay for the viewer? And to what extent have these performers been picked because they have certain bodies/visual appearances/sexual expressions? Anyway, after that it's porn - the interviews are predominantly a framing device for a compilation video, which takes up most of the run-time. So I leave that choice with you. Also, I want to make the obligatory comment that Angel's current trans politics are vile; and it seems like, from the little we hear in this film, they weren't great in 2011 either.
Short documentary about trans masculine community in China.
👓 On their website, here
Documentary about three black trans men.
👓 Full film here.
Real Boy (2016)
REAL BOY is an intimate story of a family in transition. As 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her trans son.
👓 on Tubi (not in Europe)
Man Made (2018)
Trans author and director T. Cooper followed four trans male bodybuilders preparing for Trans FitCon, the only bodybuilding competition for trans guys. Along the way, we learn about what got the guys into bodybuilding and how the practice affirms, complicates, and helps them explore their masculinity.
💵 Available on prime and youtube
A Year In Transition (2018)
A Year in Transition follows a 20-year-old Arab-American transgender man in his first year of transition as he comes out, begins taking hormones, has top surgery, and finds his own place in the trans community.
👓 Stream here
Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (2019)
Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. He is a gay transgender man. Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, as both a physical experience and one that challenges society's fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family.
💵 Variety of streaming options
In France Michelle is a Man's Name (2020)
Short. Michael, a young trans man, returns home after years of estrangement from his parents. Set against the backdrop of the American West, this short film explores fatherhood, rituals of male bonding, and what it means to identify as a trans man in contemporary America.
👓 on Vimeo
a deep-dive into trans representation in American cinema from the very beginning, from the exploitation age to the horrible decade that was the 90s all the way to now.
💵 Available on Netflix
No Ordinary Man (2020)
No Ordinary Man is an in-depth look at the life of musician and trans culture icon Billy Tipton.
💵 Available to stream around and about
The UK Has a Trans Healthcare Crisis (2021)
VICE News correspondent Freddy McConnell travels the UK to hear from trans people living in limbo as they struggle to access healthcare. Some have waited years to get just an initial assessment for gender-affirming treatment, while others say they’ve been abandoned between stages of a surgical procedure. McConnell explores the impact of this neglect, and how it’s fueled by a wider culture war over trans rights.
Presumably, some trans men are interviewed in this, but i just can't face watching a film on this topic to find out. McConnell is trans.
👓 stream on youtube
Framing Agnes (2022)
An examination of transgender histories, the film centres on Joynt and a cast of transgender actors reenacting various case studies from Harold Garfinkel's work with transgender clients at the University of California, Los Angeles. Premiered at Sundance and may be tricky to find for a while.
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Probably still the most famous trans man movie of all time, Boys Don't Cry is the true story of Brandon Teena - who was murdered in a hate crime.
This film comes with a serious content warning and the vibe from the community I've picked up is that it hasn't aged well as a trans narrative from a cis female director, and its also just too horrible as viewing; it was important at the time, but we have moved past the need for it. One for completionists and community-history types, perhaps?
By Hook or By Crook (2001)
By Hook or by Crook chronicles the tale of two unlikely friends who commit petty crimes as they search for a path to understanding themselves and the outside world. Silas Howard plays Shy (a transgender man), who leaves his small town after the death of his father, and heads to the big city to live a life of crime. Along the way, he encounters Valentine, a quirky adoptee, in search of his birth mother. An immediate kinship is sparked between these men and they become partners in crime. Suffering money troubles, emotional problems, and physical confrontations, the duo face their issues head on and learn to trust each other and support each other in pursuit of their goals.
Directed by a trans man and VERY gushing reviews in the letterboxd
🦜 on youtube
German (with English subtitles) drama film about a stealth trans man attempting to go to college. Gay.
I have seen most of this. It's good, but also tense - i love the way it brings the stress and horror of passing into these incredibly mundane, low-stakes social encounters.
🦜 stream on ok.ru
Film about a 10-year-old AFAB child exploring gender identity after moving to a new neighborhood. In French with English subtitles
There was some contraversy around the questionable-trans-politics of the director of this, so i'll update you when i've seen it
🦜 Stream here
3 Generations/About Ray (2015)
After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray's mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray's biological father to get his legal consent.
There was some controversy when this came out about the director putting her foot in her mouth politically, but the film might be sound? i feel like i have to say this every time a cis woman makes a high-profile film about us.
🦜 stream here
Tales of the City (2019)
Gentle ensemble personal drama, following the queer San Francisco residents of the original 1970s story into the modern day, and bringing in the next generation
I didn't get on with this series, which has a subplot about a transgender man exploring his changing sexuality. Something about it felt very corporate, and inauthentic. I guess I should finish it. Jake Rodriguez is clearly inspired by Maupin's own character, Jake Greenleaf, but is somehow less interesting or politically significant.
🦜 stream here