Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Gender Bender
Short Take: Documentary about FTM Robert Eads and his rural Georgia family and friends.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2001
Duration: 90 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Kate Davis
Starring: Robert Eads, Lola Cola, Maxwell Scott Anderson, Cas Piotrowski, Corissa Anderson, Stephanie Piotrowski, Bo, Keegan

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Southern ComfortThis documentary about a trans man and his rural Georgia family and friends won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. FTM Robert Eads lives in self-described ‘Bubbaland,’ and the film follows him in the year that he is diagnosed with what he considers a cruel joke, ovarian cancer. More than twenty doctors refuse to treat him.

This is also the story of Robert’s lover Lola, who is MTF and must take on an increasing caretaker role as he becomes more ill. Also profiled are close friends Maxwell (FTM) and his lover Corissa (MTF), and FTM Cas, who lives with Stephanie, a straight woman. Robert is a father figure to many younger FTM’s in Georgia, and he leads workshops at Southern Comfort, an annual trans convention in Atlanta. Although he identifies as a heterosexual man, he was out to his family as a lesbian before top surgery and hormone treatments.

Essentially, Robert is denied medical treatment, and we watch him waste away over the year that the film is in progress. Said filmmaker Kate Davis, ‘The way minority groups are mistreated has always seemed to me to be closely tied to ignorance, and so my approach to my film subjects is to move in very close, to take audiences in to the personal space of those considered different, a place where it becomes harder to shut the door on them.’ This is a very personal portrait featuring brave participants. Robert had this to say about the documentary: ‘If this film helps one other trans-man go to a doctor, or changes the heart of one straight person, then it’s worth it.’ (AB)