Transgender Bodybuilders Take Center Stage In New Documentary “Man Made”

"Madam Secretary" star Téa Leoni is producing the doc, directed by trans writer T. Cooper.

A teaser trailer has dropped for Man Made, a new documentary about a group of transgender men gearing up for the world’s first trans-inclusive bodybuilding competition.

Directed by transgender novelist-screenwriter T. Cooper (The Get Down), Man Made centers on the TransFitCon, a conference in Atlanta focused on mind, body and spirit for trans individuals. The teaser sees oiled-up trans guys stretch and strut their stuff as they prepare to take the stage.

Several open up about their struggles with gender dysphoria and anti-trans harassment. “I’ve been called every name in the book,” says one contestant, “but I’m doing what I need to do to be my authentic self.”

Cooper, who lives in Atlanta, says he’d heard about the contest and was instantly intrigued. He began to write about the competition, but soon realized that “it just felt like it needed to be more than two-dimensional.”

Longtime friend Téa Leoni encouraged Cooper to make the film and even serves as executive producer. “[I] had not heard him lit up like this about something, maybe ever,” says the Madam Secretary star. “I knew the film had to be made and I knew he had to make it.”

Though he wasn’t an experienced filmmaker, “I just got in there, and threw a camera on my shoulder, and took off,” Cooper told Entertainment Weekly. “Once I started looking at footage, I was like, ‘Okay, this has to be a feature.'”

T Cooper

As a trans man himself, Cooper says earning the trust of his subjects wasn’t difficult: “There was just this mutual trust and respect that I was going to tell these stories with so much care as though it was my own, because it is my own.”

Man Made will premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival on April 22.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
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