Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Gender Bender
Short Take: Shows us a wide range of people in the boundaries between male and female identities, including FTM transsexuals.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1999
Duration: 87 min
Language: USA, Germany/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Monika Treut
Writer: Monika Treut
Starring: Susan Stryker, Texas Tomboy, Annie Sprinkle, Jordi Jones, Stafford, Max Valerio, Joan Jett Black, Queer David, Sandy Stone, Uncle Louie, Willy Rider, Nicky Fingers, Lucky 7, Duke, Mark Freeman

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GendernautsAlthough Female to Male transsexuals and gender benders have become more mainstream in recent years through television series like ‘TransGeneration’ and a proliferation of drag king shows, Monika Treut’s (Erotique, Female Misbehavior, Seduction: The Cruel Woman, Virgin Machine) Gendernauts holds up as a valuable documentary. It does a great job of showing us a wide range of people in the boundaries between male and female identities, and in the dvd extras, touches on the political implications for lesbian feminists when women ‘become the enemy.’

Those interviewed all live in San Francisco, a mecca for all things queer. We meet people like Max, who has made the transition from female to male and does not identify as a lesbian, but as a straight man. FTM Jordie now identifies as a gay man and finds himself attracted to men and boys.

Others enjoy the middle ground where people aren’t quite sure whether they are male or female, and there really is no answer to that question. Hida is intersexed (the modern term for hermaphrodite) and has finally found a place in between as well. Doctors at the transgender clinic describe patients who label themselves as bi-gendered and also see lesbians who want to appear more androgynous through the use of hormones.

Annie Sprinkle (Female Misbehavior, Dildo Diaries, Hearts Cracked Open) contributes footage of having sex with her FTM lover, so we are able to see in graphic detail how a constructed penis functions (and malfunctions). (AB)