Our Rating: ★★★½☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film/Gender Bender
Short Take: Looks at the lives of six New York City lesbian studs who ‘dress like a dude’ and often pass as men.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2005
Duration: 75 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Daniel Peddle
Starring: Marquise Balenciaga, Kisha Batista

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Over the course of five years, this documentary looks at the lives of six New York City lesbian studs who ‘dress like a dude’ and often pass as men. To be an Aggressive is to be a butch and masculine lesbian, blurring the lines of gender, but not interested in actually being a man.

We see them participate in drag balls with themed competitions like construction worker, Wall Street businessman, etc. Five of the women are African-American, and one is Chinese-American, with an African-American girlfriend and a family that wants her to find a nice Asian girl.

Over time, we see peaks into their love lives and work lives. One has a job in which she dresses in nice men’s suits. One ends up on welfare. One joins the army. Another is arrested for selling drugs and goes to prison, finding work as a construction worker when she gets out. Kisha Batista (She Hate Me) works as both a messenger and a model, showing us the difference between a butch walk and a feminine runway walk.

Although all consider themselves lesbians in the end, one started out five years ago considering herself straight – because she only slept with MTF transsexuals. Now she still goes that way occasionally but prefers biological women.

Overall, the film is a great portrait of women living their own lives in their own skins, regardless of the gender boxes that just don’t quite fit them. (AB)