Sunday, January 28th, 2024

Queerguru’s Ris Fatah reviews DESIRE LINES ‘an inclusive celebration of gay trans men and gay trans-masculine lives’



“Can a vagina be masculine?” This, and many more thought-provoking questions, are posed by interviewer/director Jules Rosskam, in his innovative new documentary Desire Lines, which examines the lives of trans men who also became gay men after transitioning. Rosskam’s film, which premiered this week at Sundance, combines drama with documentary.

Iranian-American trans man Ahmad, 60, (Aden Hakimi) visits a queer archive to examine the lives of his ‘trans-cestors’, with the hope of better understanding his queer trans self. The archive is staffed by Kieran (Theo Germaine), who connects with Ahmad and gently guides him through the archive.  He introduces Ahmad to the life and work of Lou Sullivan, one of the first high-profile trans men who was also gay. In a series of letters and TV interviews from the 1980s Lou details his life and thoughts, mentoring other trans-masculine people along the way. Ahmad also spends time in gay saunas/bathhouses exploring his identity with other gay trans-men. The bathhouse corridors lead off from the archive, blurring the lines between the quest for sex and the quest for knowledge.

Ahmad’s story is interspersed with current interviews with a wide range of fellow trans and trans-masculine men. They discuss their journeys to becoming first a trans man, and then a gay trans man, their homosexuality often triggered by their testosterone supplementation. Sexual experiences are discussed in frank detail – both those with other queer trans men and those with gay cis-men. Everyone’s journey, dreams and desires are unique, highlighting the case that, as in all human experience, there is no one-size-fits-all life for queer trans men. The importance of imagination to supplement reality is emphasised. The combination of drama and documentary works well – the purpose of the film is to break down pre-conceived ideas on trans male and trans-masculine gender, identity and sexuality, and this unusual programming format helps break down established thought processes. The focus is on individuality and a broadening of the spectrum of trans visibility. The resulting film is an inclusive celebration of gay trans men and gay trans-masculine lives.


N.B. DESIRE LINES, was presented with  NEXT Special Jury Award presented by @Adobe



Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant  (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah

Posted by queerguru  at  17:28

Genres:  documentary, drama, trans

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